EU appealing ruling in Apple tax case

The European Union announced on Friday that it will appeal a July court ruling that annulled its 2016 finding that Apple owed Ireland up to 13 billion euros in unpaid taxes.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, said it is appealing the EU general court’s opinion to the European Court of Justice, the EU’s highest court.

The commission “respectfully considers that in its judgment the General Court has made a number of errors of law,” Margrethe Vestager, executive vice president of the commission, said in a statement.

The commission ruled in August 2016 that Ireland’s tax treatment of Apple constituted illegal “state aid” that gave the tech giant an unfair advantage over other companies. The ruling was criticized by U.S. lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, who expressed concerns that American companies were being disproportionately targeted.

Ireland and Apple contested the 2016 ruling. In July, the EU general court ruled in favor of Ireland and Apple, finding that the commission incorrectly determined that Apple received a selective economic advantage over its competitors.

In announcing the decision to appeal, Vestager said that a top priority for the EU is making sure that all companies pay their “fair share” of taxes.

“We have to continue to use all tools at our disposal to ensure companies pay their fair share of tax,” she said. “Otherwise, the public purse and citizens are deprived of funds for much needed investments – the need for which is even more acute now to support Europe’s economic recovery.”  

Apple said in a statement that it will review the appeal when it receives it, but that “it will not alter the factual conclusions of the General Court, which prove that we have always abided by the law in Ireland, as we do everywhere we operate.”


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