The European Commission said on Friday it would appeal a court ruling which has sided with Apple over a record €13 billion ($15.12 billion) Irish tax bill.
“The Commission has decided to appeal before the European Court of Justice the General Court’s judgment of July 2020 on the Apple State aid case in Ireland,” the EU’s competition chief Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.
She said the General Court raised “important legal issues” in its ruling, adding that “the Commission also respectfully considers that in its judgment the General Court has made a number of errors of law.”
According to Vestager, the same court had previously stated that EU member nations needed to respect European treaties, despite being able to set up their own taxation laws. “We have to continue to use all tools at our disposal to ensure companies pay their fair share of tax,” she said.
In July, the EU’s general court ruled that the Commission had failed to prove that Apple had been granted economic advantage via Ireland’s taxes.
The Commission’s team, led by Vestager, argued in 2016 that the tech giant had to repay €13 billion in unpaid taxes to Ireland, after the country granted “undue tax benefits” to the firm.
Both Apple and Ireland have contested the allegation, with Apple saying that it had never asked for any special arrangements and that the EU has tried to rewrite history. Apple CEO Tim Cook has even called the debacle “total political crap.”
The European Commission will now take the case to the highest court in Europe.
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