Winning an appeal at the European Union’s second highest court, the tech giant Apple has been told to not to pay Ireland €13bn (£11.6bn) in back taxes.
The decision follows a record ruling by the European Commission against the US tech company in 2016.
“It had annulled that decision because the Commission had not proved that Apple had broken competition rules,” said the EU’s General Court.
Apple said in a statement “This case was not about how much tax we pay, but where we are required to pay it”. “We’re proud to be the largest taxpayer in the world as we know the important role tax payments play in society.”
The Irish government had also appealed against the ruling and said ‘it had always been clear’ Apple received no special treatment”.
“The correct amount of Irish tax was charged… in line with normal Irish taxation rules.”
Margrethe Vestager , EU Competition Commissioner, who brought the case, said “she would study the judgment and reflect on possible next steps”.
In Wednesday’s ruling, the Luxembourg-based General Court sided the petition with the statement “there was not enough evidence to show Apple had received illegal state aid.
Partner and head of tax at law firm Pinsent Masons, Jason Collins said: “Apple’s victory shows that European courts are unwilling to call beneficial tax regimes state aid, even when designed to attract foreign investment – provided they apply the rules consistently.
“This will be a very welcome outcome for other multi-nationals who have been watching this case closely.”
“We expect the EU to continue applying pressure in this area,” he said.
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