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Sunday 24 September 2023 Dublin: 16°C
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# apple tax row
EU commission's appeal against €14.3 billion Apple and Ireland tax ruling to be heard today
Successive Irish Governments and Apple have argued that the company does not owe the State the allegedly unpaid tax.

THE HIGHEST COURT in the EU will today hear the European Commission’s appeal against the ruling that overturned its own 2016 ruling finding that Apple had underpaid €14.3 billion in tax owed to Ireland. 

Apple and successive Irish Governments have consistently made the argument that tax is not owed. 

If the appeal wins out, the money will have to be paid to the Irish State. 

The original tax bill was just over €13 billion, but as the case has dragged on interest has been added to the sum that may have to be paid. 

Back in 2020, the General Court of the European Union ruled in favour of Apple and the Irish State’s legal challenge against the Commission’s order for the allegedly unpaid taxes to be handed over. 

Previously, the EU General Court sided with Apple and the Irish State, and said that the Commission failed to prove that the company had received tax advantages from the Irish state. 

The Commission moved to appeal that decision in September 2020. 

EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said that the General Court had made a “number of errors of law”. 

Now the Court of Justice of the European Union will have the final say on the matter. 

Legal row

The legal row began after a probe was launched by the Commission into Apple’s tax affairs in Ireland. 

It found that two tax rulings delivered by Irish Revenue in 1991 and 2003 allowed the company to funnel profits through Ireland without paying tax in the jurisdiction. 

The Commission said that this was a breach of State Aid rules which are set up to prevent favourable treatment of individual companies by EU member states. 

European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager said at the time of the initial ruling that “Ireland had granted illegal tax benefits to Apple”.

The General Court disagreed with the Commission, finding that it had “incorrectly concluded, in its primary line of reasoning, that the Irish tax authorities had granted” the two Apple entities anchored in the country an unfair advantage.

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