Apple has clinched a landmark victory in its battle with the Europan Commission over a $13B ($15B) unpaid tax bill in Ireland.
The European General Court today annulled a European Commission ruling in August 2016 that the Irish government granted Apple illegal tax benefits that amounted to state aid.
In its ruling, the General Court said: “The General Court annuls the contested decision because the Commission did not succeed in showing to the requisite legal standard that there was an advantage.”
The decision is being described as a big blow to the European Commission’s efforts to extract more tax from big tech giants — a mission that has been spearheaded by Margrethe Vestager, the Commission’s EVP.
Apple said: “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.”
The Irish government, which also appealed against the 2016 ruling, welcomed the General Court’s ruling. “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,” it said.
The European Commission can appeal the ruling, which would mean the case is elevated to the Court of Justice of the European Union, the EU’s highest court.
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