Apple may end up paying the EU a $14 billion “total political nonsense” tax bill

Tim Hardwick

Apple has suffered a setback in its €13 billion ($14 billion) tax dispute with Brussels after counsel at the EU's highest court said the company's victory in a previous ruling should be overturned (via the Financial Times).

Giovanni Pitruzzella, Advocate General of the European Court of Justice (ECJ), said on Thursday that Apple's win at the EU's General Court “should be overturned” because it was riddled with errors.

While such opinions from advocates general are not binding, the EU's top tribunal followed such recommendations on Thursday. in most cases, and is set to deliver its binding decision in the coming months.

In 2020, the General Court said it upheld the EU's right to investigate national tax arrangements, but ultimately overturned the decision. The European Commission said Apple should pay a €13 billion tax to the Irish government.

Following Apple's appeal, the EU's second highest court said the EU body, headed by competition chief Margrethe Vestager, had failed to prove that Apple had gained an unfair economic advantage in Ireland regarding taxes.

Four years earlier, Apple CEO Tim Cook called the EC's original decision “complete political crap” and said Apple believed it would be overturned. “The decision is wrong, it is not based on law or facts, but on politics. And I think it is very important that we stand up and say it very loudly,” Cook said then.

However, Pitruzzella said in Thursday that the General Court's ruling “committed a number of errors” and “failed to properly assess the nature and consequences of certain methodological errors.” Pitruzzella said that as a result, the court needs to “make a new assessment.”

Responding to the attorneys general's opinion, Apple said Thursday that the lower court “made it very clear that Apple did not receive any evidence.” electoral advantage and lack of state aid, and we believe that this should remain in place.”

A decision from the European Court is expected next year.

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Tags: European Union, European Commission, Apple and Ireland Tax Case[ 156 comments ]

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