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BRSSEL (dpa-AFX) – The dispute over the back tax payment of 13 billion euros from Apple in Ireland is going to the supreme court of the European Union. As expected, the EU Commission announced an appeal against the judgment of the EU court in July, as the Brussels authority announced on Friday. The decision raises important legal questions about the application of the state aid rules, said the EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager. These are now to be clarified by the European Court of Justice (ECJ). In addition, the Commission took the view that “the General Court committed a number of errors of law in its judgment”.
In July, the EU court annulled the EU Commission’s additional claim from 2016. The Commission has not been able to show that Apple’s tax arrangements in Ireland in 1991 and 2007 constituted prohibited State aid. It was a painful setback for the Brussels authority and competition commissioner Vestager herself.
Vestager now stressed: “The Commission continues to have the highest priority to ensure that all businesses, large and small, pay their fair share of taxes.” The EU states are responsible for their tax laws. “When Member States grant certain multinational companies tax advantages that are not available to their competitors, this undermines fair competition in the European Union in violation of state aid rules,” stressed Vestager. Therefore the Commission must use all available means.
Vestager had asked Apple in August 2016 to pay the billions in Ireland because the country had granted the group illegal special treatment in terms of tax conditions. Ireland and Apple resisted.
The key question in the process was what proportion of the money accumulated in Ireland should have been taxed in the country. The iPhone group had emphasized before the EU court that the earnings of the two Irish subsidiaries, which are concerned, were taxable mainly in the USA. Therefore, Apple was asked to pay twice. The Commission also failed to convince the court that Apple was getting special rates in Ireland that were not available to other companies. / Bvi/so/DP/nas