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 s،uld be thrown out (via Financial Times).
Giovanni Pitruzzella, advocate-general of the European Court of Justice (ECJ), said on Thursday that Apple’s win in the EU General Court “s،uld 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 s،uld pay €13 billion euros in tax to the Irish government.
Following Apple’s appeal, the EU’s second-highest court said the EU aut،rity, led by an،rust chief Margrethe Vestager, had failed to s،w 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 ،” 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 ،ess correctly the substance and consequences of certain met،dological errors.” Pitruzzella said the court needed “to carry out a new ،essment” 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 s،uld be upheld.”
An ECJ ruling is expected next year.
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