Apple won a major victory on Wednesday, as Europe’s second-largest court rejected the EU’s decision to pay Ireland $ 15 billion in taxes, which hit the bloc’s efforts to crack down on pretty tax deals. Four years ago, the European Commission announced that Apple benefited from illegal state aid thanks to two Irish tax regulations that artificially reduced its tax burden for more than two decades – to 0.005% in 2014. The court overturned the decision because the commission could not really show the required standard of Article 107 (1) TFEU1, which was an advantage. The EU representative erroneously said that two Irish subsidiaries of Apple – Apple Sales International (ASI) and Apple Operations Europe (AOE) – were given a selective economic advantage and, accordingly, government assistance. Apple said that the point is not how much tax it pays, but where it should be paid, as reported Reuters.
The defeat of European competition commissioner Margret Westagher may delay consideration of cases against Ikea and Nike with the Netherlands, as well as Huhtamaki’s agreement with Luxembourg. Westager, which focused on taxes at the center of its tenure, last year the same court overturned its claim to pay Starbucks up to € 30 million in tax payments in the Netherlands.