| 14.9°C Belfast

European Court rules in favour of Apple in €13bn tax case

The European Commission believed the multinational paid an effective corporate tax rate of 1% on profits from sales made across the EU.

Close

Europe’s second highest court ruled on Ireland’s appeal against an order that tech giant Apple repay it a 13 billion euro tax bill (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Europe’s second highest court ruled on Ireland’s appeal against an order that tech giant Apple repay it a 13 billion euro tax bill (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Europe’s second highest court ruled on Ireland’s appeal against an order that tech giant Apple repay it a 13 billion euro tax bill (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The European Court has ruled in favour of Apple and Ireland in the Apple tax case, saying Apple does not have to pay the €13bn.

The verdict was delivered in the long-running case from the General Court in Luxembourg.

The European Commission argued Apple and Ireland did a deal that let Apple pay too ­little tax over many years - as low as 0.005%. It says this really amounted to state aid from Ireland to Apple.

Apple said the figures were all wrong. The Irish Government agreed.

The court found the EU Commission failed to show that the Apple companies at the heart of the case got a selective economic advantage from Ireland through their tax treatment.

In a blow to EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, the court found that her Commission did not succeed to showing to the requisite legal standard that there was an advantage given to Apple, in breach of EU law.

Responding to the decision, the Department of Finance said that; “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 taxation 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,” the Department said.

The decision in favour of Ireland means the European Commission will have to pay Ireland’s legal costs, running at around €8.4m, for a team that included the recently appointed Attorney General, Paul Gallagher,who has been paid €612,242 for work on the case, according to Department of Finance records.

EU Commission Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, who took the case against Ireland, said she will study the ruling before a decision on whether to appeal.

"Today's judgment by the General Court annuls the Commission's August 2016 decision that Ireland granted illegal State aid to Apple through selective tax breaks. We will carefully study the judgment and reflect on possible next steps,” she said.

Belfast Telegraph