EU Court Adviser Calls for Review of Apple’s $14 bn Tax Ruling

In a development, an adviser to the European Union’s top court has recommended a review of the 2016 ruling in favor of Apple over a 13-billion-euro ($14 billion) tax order. The adviser, Giovanni Pitruzzella, argued that the EU tribunal had made legal errors and failed to assess certain methodological errors related to Apple’s Irish tax rulings, Reuters news report said.
Apple Mac salesThe tax case against Apple was initiated as part of the EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager’s efforts to crack down on what regulators considered unfair state aid in deals between multinationals and EU countries. The European Commission, in its 2016 decision, claimed that Apple had benefited from Irish tax rulings for over two decades, artificially reducing its tax burden to as low as 0.005 percent in 2014.

The European Union’s General Court had upheld Apple’s challenge in 2020, stating that regulators had not met the legal standard to demonstrate that Apple had enjoyed an unfair advantage. However, Pitruzzella disagreed, emphasizing that the General Court had committed legal errors and failed to assess the substance and consequences of certain methodological errors.

While the CJEU is expected to rule in the coming months, around four in five such recommendations are typically followed. Ireland reiterated its position, stating that it had not provided any state aid to Apple and emphasizing that the opinion of Pitruzzella is non-binding.

Despite Apple and Dublin appealing against the tax order, Apple had already paid the full amount, which Ireland held in an escrow account. The Irish government has prepared for potential claims from other EU member states for a share of the back taxes, even if it retains the money.

In response to the adviser’s opinion, an Apple spokesperson expressed gratitude for the court’s consideration, reiterating the General Court’s ruling that Apple received no selective advantage and no state aid.

Margrethe Vestager, known for her tax crackdown, has had a mixed record in court defending her tax cases, with recent wins against Stellantis, Amazon, and Starbucks.