CJEU: Apple did not receive illegal state aid from Ireland

US tech giant Apple did not receive illegal state aid from Ireland and does not have to pay €14 billion in back taxes, the General Court of the European Union (EGC) has ruled.

The European Commission concluded in 2016 that Ireland broke EU state aid rules by granting undue tax benefits to Apple and ordered the country to collect the unpaid taxes for the years 2003–14.

However, Ireland appealed the decision, leading to an oral hearing before the EGC last September.

In yesterday’s judgment, the EGC annulled the Commission’s decision, concluding that the Commission “did not succeed in showing to the requisite legal standard that there was a selective advantage” for Apple.

Margrethe Vestager, executive vice-president of the European Commission, has said it will “carefully study the judgment and reflect on possible next steps”. The Commission has two months and 10 days to lodge an appeal.

She added: “The Commission stands fully behind the objective that all companies should pay their fair share of tax. If member states give certain multinational companies tax advantages not available to their rivals, this harms fair competition in the EU.

“It also deprives the public purse and citizens of funds for much needed investments – the need for which is even more acute during times of crisis.”

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said: “We welcome the judgement of the GCEU. It proves that Ireland was correct to pursue this case in the European courts.

“Ireland has always been clear that the correct level of tax was charged and Ireland provided no state aid to Apple. Ireland continues to make appropriate changes to its tax regime in line with developments in the international tax environment and remains committed to that process.”

Tags: Apple, Tax law, EU law

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