Media Moves

Apple wins tax appeal in EU

July 16, 2020

Posted by Irina Slav

Apple has won a tax appeal case that will spare it from paying Ireland some 13 billion euro in back taxes.

The BBC reported the news:

Apple has been told it will not have to pay Ireland €13bn (£11.6bn) in back taxes after winning an appeal at the European Union’s second-highest court.

It overturns a 2016 ruling which found the tech giant had been given illegal tax breaks by Dublin.

The EU’s General Court said it had annulled that decision because there was not enough evidence to show Apple broke EU competition rules.

It is a blow for the European Commission, which brought the case.

However, it has 14 days to appeal against the decision at the EU’s supreme court, the European Court of Justice.

CNN’s Hadas Gold wrote:

The European Commission — Europe’s top antitrust authority — said in 2016 that the Irish government had granted Apple (AAPL) an illegal advantage by helping the iPhone maker keep its tax bill artificially low for more than 20 years.

But Ireland didn’t want the money. The small country became the European base for companies such as Apple, Google (GOOGL) and Facebook (FB) because it has one of the lowest corporate tax rates in Europe. So it teamed up with Apple to fight the Commission.

In a statement, an Apple spokesperson told CNN Business the company was “pleased” with the decision, arguing that the case was never about how much tax it pays, but where it pays it.

Reuters’ Foo Yun Chee and Padraic Halpin noted:

The defeat for European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager could weaken or delay pending cases against Ikea’s and Nike’s deals with the Netherlands, as well as Huhtamaki’s agreement with Luxembourg.

Vestager, who has made the tax crackdown a centrepiece of her time in office, saw the same court last year overturn her demand for Starbucks to pay up to 30 million euros in Dutch back taxes. In another case, the court also threw out her ruling against a Belgian tax scheme for 39 multinationals.


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