Sept. 25 (UPI) — The European Union said Friday it will appeal a court decision that dismissed a claim against Apple that said Ireland unlawfully granted billions in aid to the U.S. tech company.
The EU’s General Court ruled earlier this summer that the European Commission was not justified four years ago when it ordered Apple to pay more than $15 billion in back taxes to the Irish government.
Dublin offered Apple the tax breaks in an effort to lure business operations to Ireland, a move the EU considers illegal.
The EU’s executive branch ordered Ireland in 2016 to recover the taxes from Apple, plus interest, amounting to nearly $15.2 billion. The move was part of an effort to crack down on corporate tax avoidance across the bloc.
Ireland appealed, saying it never gave favorable treatment to Apple. The EU General Court agreed in July, which was viewed as a setback for EU efforts to stem corporate tax breaks as a competitive advantage.
Friday, EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said the 27-member bloc — which includes Ireland — will appeal to the European Court of Justice, the alliance’s highest court, to see that Apple pays.
“Making sure that all companies, big and small, pay their fair share of tax remains a top priority for the [European] Commission,” Vestager said in a statement.
“If member states give certain multinational companies tax advantages not available to their rivals, this harms fair competition in the European Union in breach of state aid rules.”
Specifically, the court in July disagreed with the EU claim that two Apple subsidiaries located in Ireland should not have been deemed “non-resident” for tax purposes.
“Ireland has always been clear that the correct amount of Irish tax was paid and that Ireland provided no state aid to Apple,” Irish finance minister Paschal Donohoe said in a statement Friday.
“Ireland appealed the commission decision on that basis and the judgement from the General Court of the European Union vindicates this stance.”