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EU says Apple court win was based on ‘contradictory reasoning’

The claim was made in legal documents outlining an appeal.

Image: PA

THE EUROPEAN UNION’S executive Commission says a court decision handing Apple victory last year in a big tax case was “contradictory” and committed legal errors, in a filing for its appeal.

The EU is contesting the decision by the bloc’s General Court in the €13 billion tax case, which ruled in favour of Ireland and Apple last July.

The court rejected arguments by the EU Commission that Apple had to repay underpayment of profits that came about through a tax deal with Ireland.

It was a bitter defeat for the EU’s competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, who has been leading efforts to rein in multinationals’ ability to strike special tax deals with individual EU countries that she says amount to illegal state subsidies.

In an online summary of the appeal posted online, the EU said the lower court’s decision “constitutes contradictory reasoning”, saying it misinterpreted the lack of staff at Apple’s two Irish units to represent the level of technology licencing attributed to them.

The court also “committed several errors of law” when it decided the EU Commission failed to prove that Apple gained an advantage, it said.

The EU is appealing against the ruling to the European Court of Justice.

The Apple case

The European Commission previously ordered Apple to pay back €13 billion in unpaid tax and over €1 billion in interest payments to Ireland.

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Ireland and Apple appealed that ruling and the General Court of the European Union found in their favour in July 2020.

The Irish government said that Ireland has “always been clear that, based on Irish law, the correct amount of Irish tax was charged and that Ireland provided no State aid to Apple”. 

“Ireland appealed to the Commission decision on that basis and the judgement from the court vindicates this stance.”

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