Apple : EU Competition Chief Appeals Court Ruling on Apple's Taxes in Ireland

Darnell Taylor
September 27, 2020

EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager on Friday appealed a court ruling dismissing her order to iPhone maker Apple to pay 13 billion euros ($15 billion) in Irish back taxes, a landmark case in the European Commission's crackdown against sweetheart tax deals.

Judges agreed with the commission that Irish tax officials did not follow worldwide best practices, such as the OECD's arm's length principle.

The Irish government, however, argued that Apple did not have to repay the back taxes, as the country's loss was worth it to make Ireland an attractive home for large tech companies.

The court ruled that the European Union authority, led by antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager, failed to prove Ireland's tax arrangements with the company were illegal state aid.

Contrary to reports suggesting otherwise, the European Commission has revealed that it will appeal a recent court decision that went in Apple's favor concerning a massive $14.8 billion tax bill.

"We have to continue to use all tools at our disposal to ensure companies pay their fair share of tax", Vestager said.

"The General Court judgement raises important legal issues that are of relevance to the Commission in its application of State aid rules to tax planning cases", she added.

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Ireland always argued it did not grant Apple any selective advantage, and can not tax Apple on profits that are not taking place in the country. European Union executive, which has been trying to curb the ability of multinational corporations to strike private tax deals with individual European Union countries.

The Irish government said it has always been clear that Apple paid the correct amount of tax and did not get state aid.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe responded to the Commission's appeal saying it was "very much expected" and also cautioned that matter may take years to resolve. For Apple and many other USA tech companies, that's Ireland.

In July, the EU General Court annulled the commission's ruling that Ireland must collect €13bn in unpaid taxes from the United States tech giant.

The General Court's decision earlier in the year was a hammer blow to Ms Vestager who has taken a hard line against Big Tech.

The 13.1 billion euro is being held in an escrow account, meaning the proceeds can not be released until there has been a final determination in the European courts over the validity of the commission's decision.

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