The UK is liable to pay €47.5bn to the EU as part of its post-Brexit financial settlement, RTÉ News has learned.
The figures are contained in the EU's consolidated budget report for 2020.
The report states that the UK owes the EU €47.456bn under a series of articles that both sides agreed as part of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.
The issue of what Britain would owe the EU after Brexit has been highly controversial, with eurosceptics claiming that the UK would not have to pay it if there was no deal on either the Withdrawal Agreement or the future relationship treaty.
In the early part of the exit negotiations, the UK had to reach agreement on three key issues before the talks could progress to the next stage. These included the financial settlement, citizens rights and the Irish border.
In December 2017, both sides reached agreement on the mechanism to calculate the total amount, with UK officials predicting that it would be between £35-39bn.
The UK’s Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) predicted in its March 2018 Economic and Fiscal Outlook Report that the total bill would amount to €41.4bn.
Therefore, the total amount is significantly higher than predicted. The €47.5bn bill is broken down into two amounts.
Under Article 140 of the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK is obliged to pay its share of the EU’s outstanding spending commitments as of 31 December, 2020, when the Brexit transition period came to an end.
This amounts to the total volume of legal commitments the EU has made to recipients, for which payments will fall in the coming years.
Known as Reste à liquider, this amount of money relates to projects, programmes, agreements or contracts which had already been committed to by the EU 28 before 31 December 2020, but which are not yet fully implemented.
Under the Withdrawal Agreement the UK's liability for this amount was calculated at 12.6%.
The EU’s overall budgetary commitments on 31 December, 2020 were €303bn. However, that has been adjusted down to €294bn because of a number of programmes the UK did not participate in during the transition period.
With another adjustment factored in, the UK owes €35bn.
The second slice of money relates to EU liabilities, such as pensions and sickness insurance of retired EU staff, which the UK owes under Article 143 of the Withdrawal Agreement.
Officials say the UK committed to pay its share of these liabilities as of the end of 2020, with the exception of specific liabilities noted in the treaty.
The overall amount of these liabilities is €116bn, and the UK’s share - at 12.6% - is €14.3bn.
That amounts to €49.3bn, but this figure is offset by some €2.1bn, which is owed by the UK to the EU.
The €2.1bn relates to fines imposed by the EU on companies and other entities and which are returned to member states.
The figures are contained in the Consolidated Annual Accounts of the European Union, published by the European Commission.
They are provisional accounts until the European Court of Auditors signs off on them in November.
However, Ireland’s member of the Court of Aditors Tony Murphy has told RTÉ News that the €47.5bn figure is unlikely to change.
"While the 2020 EU consolidated accounts published by the Commission are as of yet provisional the Court has completed its audit work on these accounts," Mr Murphy said in a statement.
"Following internal adoption procedures the Court is set to issue an unmodified opinion on the reliability of the 2020 EU consolidated accounts, as we have in previous years. Therefore, for all intent and purposes the figures published by the Commission are definitive."
Under the Withdrawal Agreement, an initial amount of €6.8bn is due for payment in 2021. However, most of the money will be paid over several decades.