[DUBLIN] Apple is to hire an additional 1,000 staff in Ireland, the government said on Wednesday, as the iPhone maker bids to boost its presence in the country where it declares much of its overseas profit for tax purposes.
The European Union last year accused Ireland of swerving international tax rules by letting Apple shelter profits worth tens of billions of dollars from revenue collectors in return for maintaining jobs.
A decision on whether the tax deal with Apple constituted unfair state aid is due after Christmas, Finance Minister Michael Noonan told journalists on Wednesday.
The decision could force Apple to pay substantial back taxes.
Ireland's main foreign investment agency, the IDA, said Apple was to add 1,000 jobs to its office in Cork by mid-2017 from 5,000 at present. It said the company had also added 1,000 jobs in the past year.
Mr Noonan said the decision showed that the controversy around Apple's tax deal "hasn't affected their enthusiasm for Ireland". "I think they are bringing a lot of intellectual property onshore too, but that's less clear," he said.
Apple this year announced the construction of a new 850-million-euro data centre.
The European Commission has already ordered Dutch authorities to recover up to 30 million euros (S$45.7 million)from US coffee chain Starbucks and Luxembourg to do the same with Fiat Chrysler for their tax deals.
Rulings on Apple and Amazon's tax arrangement with Luxembourg authorities are still pending.
Apple paid an average tax rate of just 2.5 per cent on around US$109 billion of non-US profits in the five years to 2014, a fraction of Ireland's 12.5 per cent tax rate.