The EU has taken Ireland to court for its failure to recover up to $15.3billion of tax due from Apple.

The EU ordered Apple to pay the unpaid taxes in a court case last year, with Ireland responsible for the collection, however the company has failed to pay and Ireland have yet to seek out even a portion of the sum.

“We of course understand that recovery in certain cases may be more complex than in others, and we are always ready to assist. But member states need to make sufficient progress to restore competition,” said EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager.

The EU are also demanding Amazon pay 250 million euros in taxes to Luxembourg.

Ireland, it said, had been in constant contact with the Commission and Apple for more than a year and was close to setting up an escrow account. This would include the hiring of at least one investment manager to handle the fund.

Apple has for a long time avoided high taxes.

In New Zealand, Apple pays no tax despite reported sales of $744 million, avoiding large tax bills due to no management placed in the country.

Last year it received a $3million tax bill for NZ which it paid to Australia.

In Australia, Apple paid a tax bill of 1% of its total revenues last year.  The $85 million dollar tax bill was a small fraction of the $8 billion it received in local revenue – not including the revenue it receives from NZ .

In a statement to Fairfax Media an Apple spokesman said: “Apple Australia pays all taxes it owes in accordance with Australian law.”