DUBLIN (Reuters) - The European Commission's estimate that Apple <AAPL.O> owes Ireland up to 13 billion euros ($14 billion) in a disputed tax ruling is unlikely to be altered greatly by Dublin's calculations, the Irish finance minister said on Thursday.
The Commission ordered Apple to pay Ireland the unpaid taxes after ruling in August that the iPhone maker won sweetheart tax deals from Dublin amounting to illegal state aid. The Irish government and Apple have appealed the demand.
The Commission said it expected that the amount owed would total 13 billion euros plus interest but required Ireland to calculate the exact sums based on the methodology designed and set out in the ruling.
"So far my officials haven't indicated to me that it's going to seriously overrun the 13 (billion euros) or come seriously short of the 13, but there are other years to be assessed and so on," Finance Minister Michael Noonan told a parliamentary committee, referring to the 10-year period the calculations are based on.
Noonan said Irish officials were still negotiating the terms of a ring-fenced escrow fund where the back taxes will be held pending the outcome of the appeals process, which the Irish government has said could take four or five years.
Ireland requested an extension to complete the collection of the funds after a formal deadline for doing so elapsed last month. The EU's antitrust regulator said on Tuesday that the Commission was satisfied with Ireland's progress to date.
(This version of the story was refiled to remove extraneous word in paragraph 4)
(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Susan Fenton)