In 2016, the European Commission ruled that Apple had been given an unfair tax advantage by the Irish government. Following this, it set about recovering the money.
However, Apple launched a dispute, which was successful. This means the company doesn’t need to repay the €13bn.
This overturns the previous ruling, which took place in 2016, that the tech giant had been given illegal tax breaks.
The Irish government had also appealed the first ruling, and said, “The correct amount of Irish tax was charged… in line with normal Irish taxation rules.”
The EU General Court, which is the second highest court in the EU, said the decision had been overruled due to a lack of evidence that Apple broke EU competition rules.
According to the court, “the Commission didn’t succeed in showing to the requisite legal standard that there was an advantage for the purposes of Article 107(1) TFEU (a law against anticompetitive government subsidies that undermine the competitiveness of the European Union internal market)”.
Margrethe Vestager, the Commission’s executive Vice President, said the Commission would “study the judgement and reflect on possible next steps.”
She added, “Today’s judgment by the General Court annuls the Commission’s August 2016 decision that Ireland granted illegal state aid to Apple through selective tax breaks. The Commission stands fully behind the objective that all companies should pay their fair share of tax.”
Going forward, Ireland, the European Commission, and Apple have two months to decide whether or not they wish to appeal the court ruling. In addition, the Commission can appeal the decision at the supreme court, the European Court of Justice, in the next 14 days.
A spokesperson for 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.”
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