Apple acquired a dramatic win in the second-highest court of Europe on Wednesday winning against a $15 billion tax order in Ireland.
Back in August 2016, the order was commissioned against Apple by Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager receiving much resentment from Silicon Valley. Apple CEO Tim Cook had condemned the decision at that time calling it a ‘total political crap’.
US President Donald Trump even mocked Vestager as Europe’s ‘tax lady’ after she imposed many antitrust fines on Google as well.
But Brussels has seemingly not lost the fight just yet as Vestager declared that they are studying the judgment. The verdict by the EU’s general court could be challenged with an appeal to the top European Court of Justice, most probably no sooner than 2021.
In 2016, Ireland faced accusations from the EU that they were letting Apple park revenue earned in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and India with hardly any taxation.
This seemingly gave Apple a great advantage over other companies avoiding Irish taxes from 2003 to 2014, a total amount of 13 billion Euros ($15 billion), said the EU.
Though EU officials claimed it to be an illegal ‘state aid’ by Ireland, the court dismissed their plea by saying that the commission ‘did not succeed in showing the requisite legal standard that there was an advantage’. The court clarified that the commission ‘was wrong’ at implying Apple units in Ireland ‘had been granted a selective economic advantage and, by extension, state aid’.
Apple has agreed to the court’s decision reminding the world that the profit was always supposed to go to the United States and never to Ireland.
An Apple spokesman exclaimed in an email to AFP that the case was not about how much tax they pay, but where they are required to pay it. They also added that they are proud to be the largest taxpayer in the world as they are aware of the role of tax payments in the growth of a society.
Dublin has also welcomed the judgment.
The Irish government has announced that it had always been clear that Apple would never receive special treatment and they were always charged with the correct amount of tax according to normal Irish taxation rules.
Vestager stated at the EU that they will carefully study the judgment and decide on possible next steps and the Commission offers full support to the objective that all companies should pay their fair share of tax.