Jack Quann
Jack Quann

12.36 25 Sep 2020


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The European Commission is to appeal an EU court judgment on the Apple tax case.

The Government says it will examine legal documents from the commission.

In July, the EU General Court annulled the commission's ruling that Ireland must collect €13bn in unpaid taxes from the US tech giant.

The court said the commission "did not succeed in showing to the requisite legal standard that there was an advantage" given to Apple.

It followed a two year investigation by the commission, which concluded in 2016 that the Irish State allowed Apple to pay far less tax than other companies.

The initial ruling took four years to get to - while it is expected the appeal could last as long.

It will now move to the EU's highest court: the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

The money is being held in an escrow account until the appeals process has concluded.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has said the Government will take time to consider the appeal before giving a more detailed view.

"The decision that has been made by the European Commission is to be very much expected.

"It was my expectation that they would appeal.

"We will continue to ensure that our interests are protected in the process that will now develop from this point".

'Errors of law'

On the decision to appeal, EU Commission Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager said: "The general court judgment raises important legal issues that are of relevance to the commission in its application of State aid rules to tax planning cases.

"The commission also respectfully considers that in its judgment the general court has made a number of errors of law.

"For this reason, the commission is bringing this matter before the European Court of Justice."

She added: "Making sure that all companies, big and small, pay their fair share of tax remains a top priority for the commission.

Apple tax Margrethe Vestager is seen during an Ecofin meeting in Brussels in 2012. Picture by: European Union

"The general court has repeatedly confirmed the principle that, while member states have competence in determining their taxation laws taxation, they must do so in respect of EU law, including State aid rules.

"If member states give certain multinational companies tax advantages not available to their rivals, this harms fair competition in the European Union in breach of State aid rules.

"We have to continue to use all tools at our disposal to ensure companies pay their fair share of tax.

"Otherwise, the public purse and citizens are deprived of funds for much needed investments - the need for which is even more acute now to support Europe's economic recovery.

"We need to continue our efforts to put in place the right legislation to address loopholes and ensure transparency.

"So there's more work ahead - including to make sure that all businesses, including digital ones, pay their fair share of tax where it is rightfully due."

Main image: Apple's logo on the facade of a shop in the US city of San Francisco. Picture by: Andrej Sokolow/DPA/PA Images

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Appeal State Aid Apple Apple Tax Case EU Commission European Court Of Justice Ireland Margrethe Vestager Paschal Donohoe

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