Apple Wins Latest Round of EU Court Battle Over Irish Tax Bill

EU Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager

Apple has won the latest round of its landmark tax case against the European, overturning a $14.9 billion bill that the bloc’s Commission claimed the company owed. The EU’s second-highest court ruled that the competition authority “did not succeed in showing to the requisite legal standard that there was an advantage” (via Bloomberg News). The case had been at the forefront of EU Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager‘s work on taxes paid by multinantional, mostly tech, firms.

Apple Welcomes Ruling in EU Tax Case

In a statement seen by The Mac Observer, Apple said:

We thank the General Court for their time and consideration of the facts. We are pleased they have annulled the Commission’s case. This case was not about how much tax we pay, but where we are required to pay it. We’re proud to be the largest taxpayer in the world as we know the important role tax payments play in society. Apple has paid more than $100 billion in corporate income taxes around the world in the last decade and tens of billions more in other taxes. Changes in how a multinational company’s income tax payments are split between different countries require a global solution, and Apple encourages this work to continue. We are also proud to be a powerful engine of economic growth in Europe. Last year we spent over €13 billion with 4,500 suppliers of all sizes. Our innovation and investment supports more than 1.8 million jobs across the EU.

The Irish Government was also part of the appeal and similarly welcomed the decision. Its Ministry of Finance said in a statement:

Ireland has always been clear that there was no special treatment provided to the two Apple companies – ASI and AOE. The correct amount of Irish tax was charged taxation in line with normal Irish taxation rules.

The decision can be appealed and this is likely to happen.

Competition Commissioner Responds to Decision

“We will carefully study the judgment and reflect on possible next steps,” said Ms. Vestager in a statement. “The Commission stands fully behind the objective that all companies should pay their fair share of tax. If Member States give certain multinational companies tax advantages not available to their rivals, this harms fair competition in the EU. It also deprives the public purse and citizens of funds for much needed investments – the need for which is even more acute during times of crisis,” she added.

[Update: Statement from EU Commissioner Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager.]

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