Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has said a legal agreement between the Government and Apple will be signed today that will facilitate the establishment of an escrow account to collect the €13 billion the European Commission says is due to Ireland in back taxes from the US tech giant.

Mr Donohoe said the agreement "is a significant milestone with regard to the commencement of the recovery of the alleged State aid, as the Escrow Framework Deed is the overarching agreement which will govern the collection and eventual payment of funds".

The department said it is "anticipated the funds will flow into the Escrow Fund in significant tranches" and full recovery of the €13 billion is expected by the end of September.

In August 2016, the commission ordered Apple to pay the unpaid taxes as it ruled the firm had received illegal state aid.

It said "selective treatment" allowed the US multinational to pay a tax rate of 1% on EU profits in 2003, down to 0.005% in 2014.

Mr Donohoe said while the Government disagreed strongly with the European Commission’s original decision, he always made it clear that it will adhere to its ruling as it prepares its appeal case.

He described today's developments as "very, very significant" and said it was done to protect both Apple and the Irish Government because of the large sum of money involved.

He said he executed Ireland's appeal to be heard this autumn and said so far €3m euro has been spent on it, but the taxpayer will not be on the hook for this money.

The signing of the Escrow Framework Deed by the Minister for Finance and Apple allows for the appointment of the Escrow Agent/Custodian and the Investment Managers.

Today’s announcement follows the recent announcements that the Bank of New York Mellon, London Branch has been selected as preferred tenderer for the provision of escrow agency and custodian services and that Amundi, BlackRock Investment Management (UK) Limited and Goldman Sachs Asset Management International have been selected as preferred tenderers for the provision of investment management services.

This in turn activates the process for the collection of the alleged State aid.

It allows for the opening of the formal accounts into which the funds will be paid and ensures the timeline for the flow of funds in Q2 and Q3 of 2018 will be adhered to.