Apple has been told it will not have to pay Ireland €13bn (£11.6bn) in back taxes after winning an appeal at the European Union’s second highest court. It follows a record ruling by the European Commission against the US tech giant in 2016.
The EU’s General Court said it had annulled that decision because the Commission had not proven Apple had broken competition rules. It is a blow for the EU which wants to crack down on alleged tax avoidance. However, it has the right to appeal the decision to Europe’s highest court, the European Court of Justice.
“This case was not about how much tax we pay, but where we are required to pay it,” Apple said in a statement. “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 – which had also appealed against the ruling – 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.”
EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who brought the case, said she would “study the judgment and reflect on possible next steps”.