The European Court of Justice’s General Court sided with Apple and Ireland after eurocrats attempted to enforce a €13 billion back-taxes bill. The
The European Court of Justice’s General Court sided with Apple and Ireland after eurocrats attempted to enforce a €13 billion back-taxes bill. The ruling insisted the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, had failed to prove the requisite legal standard there was a significant advantage for the tech firm. An ECJ statement said: “The General Court considers that the Commission did not prove, in its alternative line of reasoning, that the contested tax rulings were the result of discretion exercised by the Irish tax authorities.”
The decision comes as a particular blow to European competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager.
In 2016, she ruled that Ireland must claim back €13 billion worth of corporate taxes plus interest after an investigation concluded Ireland have granted Apple a “sweetheart” deal for more than a decade.
The Commission had claimed Dublin gave Apple a preferential tax arrangement which was not available to other companies.
It was alleged the iPhone maker had escaped paying less than one percent in corporate taxes in Ireland.
Apple has consistently rejected the allegations.
Brussels now has just two months and 10 days to appeal against the decision.
The Commission will likely launch a challenge and the case will be heard by the EU’s top court, which will then issue a final ruling on the case.
President Donald Trump has previously lashed out at Ms Vestager for targeting US tech firms operating in Europe.
“She hates the United States perhaps worse than any person I’ve ever met,” Mr Trump last year fumed.
His rant came after Ms Vestager targeted US technology firms like Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s Google.
Political analyst Pieter Cleppe said the Commission should now look to re-evaluate its taxation policies.
He said: “EU judges have ruled that EU commissioner Vestager, who was dubbed the ‘tax lady’ by US President Trump, did not maintain a ‘requisite legal standard’ when policing state aid.
“The EU Commission should stop bending the law and no longer reinterpret every attractive tax arrangement as ‘state aid’.
“Perhaps Vestager can now go after Germany, which has been splashing out on more state aid this year than any other EU country, in terms of GDP.”