Apple And Its $14 Billion Problem

A European tribunal is being urged to reevaluate its decision in favor of Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) regarding a $14 billion tax order, according to an adviser to Europe’s top court. The tax case, a part of EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager’s efforts to address deals between multinationals and EU countries seen as unfair state aid, stems from a 2016 decision by the European Commission. The commission asserted that Apple had benefited from two Irish tax rulings for over two decades, artificially reducing its tax burden to as low as 0.005% in 2014.

In 2020, the European Union’s General Court upheld Apple’s challenge, stating that regulators had failed to meet the legal standard demonstrating an unfair advantage. However, Advocate General Giovanni Pitruzzella at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) disagreed, suggesting that the General Court’s judgment should be set aside, citing legal errors.

“The judgment of the General Court on ‘tax rulings’ adopted by Ireland in relation to Apple should be set aside,” Pitruzzella said in a non-binding opinion, pointing out a series of legal errors and the failure to assess certain methodological errors according to the Commission’s decision. He emphasized the need for the General Court to conduct a new assessment.

The ECJ, expected to rule in the coming months, generally follows about four in five such recommendations.

Ireland maintained its stance that it had not provided any state aid to Apple. Michael McGrath, Ireland’s finance minister, clarified, “It is important to bear in mind that this opinion does not form part of the Court of Justice of the European Union judgment but is considered by the Court when arriving at its final ruling. It has always been, and remains, Ireland’s position that the correct amount of Irish tax was paid and that Ireland provided no state aid to Apple.”

Despite appeals by Apple and Dublin against the tax order, Apple had already handed over the full amount, held in an escrow account by Ireland.

“We thank the court for its time and ongoing consideration in this case. The General Court’s ruling was very clear that Apple received no selective advantage and no state aid, and we believe that should be upheld,” stated an Apple spokesperson.

Information for this briefing was found via Reuters, CNN, and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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