Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

10.13 15 Jul 2020


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The Irish Government and Apple have won their appeal against the European Commission's €13bn tax ruling.

It relates to a 2016 ruling that directed Ireland to recover unpaid taxes, as well as interest, from the tech company.

The European Commission felt Apple was getting preferential treatment by Ireland, which is illegal under EU state aid rules.

Ireland and Apple appealed the ruling, insisting that no state aid had been granted.

In a ruling today, the EU General Court says it has annulled the decision made by the Commission.

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

The European Commission can appeal the decision to the EU's highest court.

In a statement, the Commission said they'll now take time to 'reflect on possible next steps'.

They explained: "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."

The Department of Finance has welcomed the decision by the General Court.

In a statement, they said: "Ireland has always been clear that there was no special treatment provided to the two Apple companies - ASI and AOE. The correct amount of Irish tax was charged in line with normal Irish taxation rules.

"Ireland appealed the Commission Decision on the basis that Ireland granted no state aid and the decision today from the Court supports that view."

Speaking on The Pat Kenny Show, Michael McCarthy Flynn - Oxfam Ireland's Senior Policy Coordinator - said that the case wasn't about tax avoidance.

However, he argued: "It's almost more damning in relation to Ireland's approach.

"This wasn't a once-off scheme - this was the general approach taken in Ireland at the time. The Commission didn't and couldn't prove that this was a selective advantage given to one company."

Picture by: Kris Tripplaar/SIPA USA/PA Images

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