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Apple tax judgment; European Commission will Appeal the judgment

The European Commission (EC) will appeal the case, according to a statement from the commission’s executive vice president, Margaret Vestager.

She said that there were a number of errors of law by the European Court of Justice, while it forbidden the Commission’s case against the tech giants Apple and Ireland in the month of July.

The European Commission had found out that the Apple owed Ireland €13 billion as unpaid taxes way back in 2016. This happened because an alleged tax arrangement granted to the company had amounted to illegal state aid.  

Regarding decision this both Ireland and Apple raised appeals. In July, the ECJ General Court ruled in favor of Ireland and Apple that the Commission had not complied with the legal criteria required to establish that the company had enjoyed selective and preferred treatment in the manner considered by Ireland for tax reasons.

“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, which annulled the Commission’s decision of August 2016 finding that Ireland granted illegal State aid to Apple through selective tax breaks,” the Competition Commissioner said today.

She also stated that 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,” Margrethe Vestager said.

She said that the Commissions priority is to make sure that that all companies, big and small, pay their fair share of tax.

“The General Court has repeatedly confirmed the principle that, while member states have competence in determining their taxation laws, they must do so in respect of EU law, including State aid rules,” she added.

The deadline for the appeal was about to end today midnight, with having two months and ten days to raise the appeal against the decision to the higher European Court, the commission waited till the last moment researching and making their points clear.

As per the experts, the July’s judgement was not totally convincing from the side of the commission and that’s why there were scopes for an appeal from the commission’s side. There was also a situation which pointed out that irrespective of the judgements, an appeal will happen.  

Apple said the commission’s case was dismissed by the General Court in July and the facts have not changed since then.

The company in a statement said that the case has never been about how much tax they pay, rather where the company required to pay it.

“We will review the Commission’s appeal when we receive it, however it will not alter the factual conclusions of the General Court, which prove that we have always abided by the law in Ireland, as we do everywhere, we operate,” it added.

Paschal Donohoe, the Minister for Finance, also said that the appeal from the commissions side was very much expected.

“We will continue to ensure our interests are protected in the process that will now develop from this point,” Mr Donohoe said to the media.  

“What we are now going to do is understand what is the legal argument that has been put forward by the Commission in relation to this,” he said. 

“We will have sight soon of the documents that they have to lodge with the court in relation to this issue. We will study the rationale they are putting forward and then I will make a further statement on the issue at that point once we understand the rationale for their further action,” he added. 

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