The first round of Apple’s legal battle against the EU has come to a conclusion. The ruling for over $15 billion unpaid Irish tax bill was rejected by the court, essentially granting a decision in Ireland’s favor.
The order was based on the argument that the company’s deal with Ireland signed over twenty years ago for low taxes was very ‘selective’ and was not offered to others which gave Apple an unfair advantage over competitors. The appeal was filed in 2016 by the European Union. The EU General Court ultimately ruled the decision in Ireland’s favor as the commission failed to show sufficient evidence suggesting that the company was ever granted any economic advantage.
— EU Court of Justice (@EUCourtPress) July 15, 2020
The Irish department welcomed the Court’s ruling and said:
“Ireland has always been clear that there was no special treatment provided to Apple. The correct amount of Irish tax was charged, taxation in line with normal Irish taxation rules.”
However, the EU is likely to appeal again, but a corporate judgment of this scale is going to take several years to resolve.
In the past, tech giants have been criticized for using their complicated business modules for achieving very low tax in certain regions. Almost all of Apple’s European operations are funneled through Ireland, meaning that the company pays no tax in individual European countries. Several countries and governments are working on strategies to redistribute tax more effectively so that multinational corporations pay equal proportions in every operating country.
Other cases against Apple
Unfortunately for the iPhone manufacture, the company started the year with a series of investigations and allegations of anti-competitor behavior. Last month, the EU began an antitrust investigation on the company’s policy for third-party apps on Apple Pay and iOS App Store on Spotify’s complaint.
The company’s policies have been under scrutiny for over a year over the following concerns:
- Removal of parental control apps from the App Store
- Determination of search result rankings
- Apps including in-app links to non-Apple payment systems
- In-app purchase mechanism
- Setting non-Apple apps as default
The tech giant categorically denied all accusations and claims that third-party developers do not want to comply with the company’s policies. Tim Cook is also scheduled to testify in an upcoming US Antitrust hearing with the U.S House judiciary sub-committee. The company’s digital ecosystem is worth half a trillion dollars, therefore, all leading developers look forward to making their apps available on the platform.