EU Court sides with Apple, Ireland in EU’s landmark $15 billion tax case

Apple and Ireland win appeal against the European Commission’s $15 billion tax ruling


A European Union court has ruled in favor of Apple in an appeal of an order to pay Ireland €13 billion euros in back taxes. The ruling complicates EU efforts to rein in tech giants in Europe.

The General Court of the European Union (GCEU) has annulled the decision taken by the Commission regarding the Irish tax rulings in favour of Apple.

The subject of Apple’s tax arrangements has long been used by critics to point out that the company is not as high-minded as it makes out. As the iPhone maker has grown to being one of the largest and most profitable in the world, the chorus of people asking where its profits go has grown louder. And, as regulators began examining just how Apple handled its profits, concerns about tax avoidance became harder to ignore.

The company has accused the European Commission of trying to rewrite Apple’s history in Europe, ignore Irish tax laws and upend the international tax system.

Tim Cook has long argued that Apple does pay its tax, but should only do so in places where it creates value. The CEO feels that Apple should only be paying tax in the US, since its Cupertino HQ is where the value of its products are created. Which is probably something of an insult to the people building Mac and iOS devices across the world, and the countries that provide skilled employees and infrastructure that enables Apple to do business.

It has also alleged that the EU’s claim has no basis in fact or in law as Apple had never asked for, nor was it given, any special deals.

The Government had also opposed the Commission’s decision, arguing it was fundamentally flawed and interfered with its sovereignty by seeking to override national law.

With the legal challenge expected to run for years, Ireland’s debt agency has invested the disputed taxes in low-risk, highly rated euro-dominated bonds, mainly short- to medium-term sovereign securities.

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