EU appeals against Apple ruling in $15 billion tax battle

European Commission executive vice president Margrethe Vestager talks to media in Brussels, Belgium.

Thierry Monasse | Getty Images News | Getty Images

The battle between the European Commission and Apple over taxation is not over yet.

On Friday, the Commission, which is the executive arm of the EU, said it would appeal a court ruling involving Apple and Ireland. 

The EU’s general court ruled in July that the Commission had failed to prove the Irish government had given a tax advantage to the tech giant. The Commission’s team, led by the EU’s competition chief Margrethe Vestager, argued in 2016 that Apple had to repay 13 billion euros ($15.17 billion) in unpaid taxes to Ireland, after the latter granted “undue tax benefits” to the firm. However, both the Irish government and the tech giant contested the allegation. 

The Commission will now take the case to the highest court in Europe.

“The Commission has decided to appeal before the European Court of Justice the General Court’s judgment of July 2020 on the Apple State aid case in Ireland,” Margrethe Vestager, the head of competition policy in the EU, said in a statement.

July’s ruling challenged the way the Commission uses state aid policy to fight non-competitive deals between governments and companies, by asking it to put forward more evidence in these situations — a potentially lengthy and complicated task.

Nonetheless, the EU argued at the time that it would continue to look at aggressive tax planning measures under EU State aid rules.

This is a breaking news story and it is being updated.

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