Apple Could Pay 'Total Political Crap' $14 Billion Tax Bill to EU After All

Apple has suffered a setback in its €13 billion ($14 billion) tax dispute with Brussels after an advisor to the EU's highest court said the company's victory in an earlier ruling should be thrown out (via Financial Times).

European Commisssion
Giovanni Pitruzzella, advocate-general of the European Court of Justice (ECJ), said on Thursday that Apple's win in the EU General Court "should be set aside" because it is riddled with mistakes.

While such opinions by advocates-general are non-binding, the top EU tribunal follows such advice in the majority of cases, and it is set to issue its binding ruling in the coming months.

In 2020, the General Court said it supported the EU's right to investigate national tax arrangements, but it ultimately overturned a ruling by the European Commission stating that Apple should pay €13 billion euros in tax to the Irish government.

Following Apple's appeal, the EU's second-highest court said the EU authority, led by antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager, had failed to show that Apple had received an illegal economic advantage in Ireland over tax.

Four years earlier, Apple CEO Tim Cook called the EC's original decision "total political crap" and said that Apple believed it would be reversed. "The decision is wrong, and it's not based on law or facts, it's based on politics. And I think it's very important that we stand up and say that very loudly," said Cook at the time.

However, Pitruzzella said on Thursday the General Court ruling had "committed a series of errors" and "failed to assess correctly the substance and consequences of certain methodological errors." Pitruzzella said the court needed "to carry out a new assessment" as a result.

Responding to the opinion of the advocates-general, Apple said on Thursday that the lower court "was very clear that Apple received no selective advantage and no State aid, and we believe that should be upheld."

An ECJ ruling is expected next year.

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Top Rated Comments

DownUnderDan Avatar
7 months ago

Is anyone surprised? The EU is one step short of communism with their blatant subjective promulgation against anything that appears to be success.

The corrupt lawmakers see money and think “hey, we should decide what they do with it…let’s take it!”

The EU is becoming so crazy that it may be best, financially, for Apple to just sunset the market entirely. Let’s see how long the EU will keep this up once Apple starts closing stores.
You might want to do some reading on what communism actually is.
Score: 42 Votes (Like | Disagree)
EmotionalSnow Avatar
7 months ago

Is anyone surprised? The EU is one step short of communism with their blatant subjective promulgation against anything that appears to be success.

The corrupt lawmakers see money and think “hey, we should decide what they do with it…let’s take it!”

The EU is becoming so crazy that it may be best, financially, for Apple to just sunset the market entirely. Let’s see how long the EU will keep this up once Apple starts closing stores.
Many Europeans have either lived in a then-communist country or only a few hundred km from the border of one and yet Americans, who basically are on the other side of the planet continue to lecture us as to what communism is. No thanks, we certainly have more experience than you.
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Wildkraut Avatar
7 months ago

Wait a minute wtf. The equivalent of the attorney general can just say a court decided incorrectly and that’s it, it gets overturned? How is that democratic?
Hmm how is that democratic?

Let me try to show...



And then look at all the EU countries with "Full democracy"...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Economist_Democracy_Index

Attachment Image
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
playtech1 Avatar
7 months ago
I think the issue the EU has is really with Ireland rather than Apple, in that the Irish government went too far in offering an effective subsidy to entice Apple to its shores that was in breach of the EU state aid rules that aim (amongst other things) to stop EU member states competing with one another to bribe companies to base themselves there.

From the linked article it was alleged Ireland offered Apple a deal of 2% tax instead of its normal 12.5% tax.

From Wikipedia that deal would be State Aid - and so potentially illegal - if it met the following criteria:

1. "the use of state resources"
2. "the measure must confer an advantage to a certain undertaking"
3. "the advantage must be selective"
4. "the measure must distort competition"
5. "affect trade between member states".

At a high level if that kind of special tax discount was given it seems pretty clear that Ireland is in the wrong. Perhaps harsh though for Apple to be caught in the crossfire, but from the EU's perspective it was the recipient of the state aid and must now disgorge it.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
joecomo Avatar
7 months ago
Always remember: The EU gave us USB-C finally
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cwt2nospam Avatar
7 months ago

ECJ is a kangaroo court, it has no resemblance to a court of law, it's run by the EU bureaucrats, to rule over any legal court rulings, for the benefit of EU's political agenda's.
If that's what it takes to get multinational corporations to pay their taxes, so be it.

I'm huge Apple fan. I've been buying Macs since the 1980s, iPhones since 2007, and I've had a few iPads as well. My next purchase in each of these categories will be from Apple, but none of that means I'm in favor of any corporation paying a lower tax rate than working people, as happens far too often.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)