Jul 15, 2020 - Technology

Apple scores win in tax battle with EU

A photo illustration of a smartphone with the Apple logo displayed prominently on the screen, with a European Union flag in the background.

Photo illustration: Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Apple won a major court case against the European Union Wednesday, shielding the tech giant from having to pay €13 billion ($14.8 billion) in back taxes to Ireland.

Why it matters: This is a major blow to European competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who wants U.S.-based companies to pay what she sees as their fair share of taxes in Europe. Vestager has also tried to reel in American tech companies in matters of competition and privacy.

What they're saying: The EU's General Court said the European Commission "did not succeed in showing the requisite legal standard" to prove that the Irish government gave Apple an unfair tax advantage.

  • The European Commission said it would "study the judgment and reflect on possible next steps," according to CNBC.

Context: The European Commission in 2016 said Ireland allowed Apple to pay "substantially less tax than other businesses over many years."

  • Ireland, with its low corporate tax rates, is home to the European headquarters of many major multinational corporations.

What's next: Parties in the case have two months and 10 days to decide if they want to appeal the decision to the European Court of Justice, the EU's highest court.

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