Photo: Ng Han Guan Associated Press
Customers of Apple wore the mask during their visit to a boutique of the giant to Beijing, on Tuesday.
The european judges have given the reason to Apple against Brussels, cancelling Wednesday the decision of the european Commission, which had ordered the u.s. giant to pay back the Ireland of 13 billion euros (over 20 billion) of tax benefits that it considered undue.
This decision is a huge setback for the vice-president of the european Commission Margrethe Vestager, in charge of the competition, and a win for Apple and Ireland.
The Commission has failed to demonstrate ” the existence of an economic advantage-selective “, according to the european court. Apple is “delighted” from the decision of the european judges, and Ireland is being ” welcomed “.
As for Ms. Vestager, it said in a statement that it would ” study the judgment and consider the next steps “, without, however, say whether Brussels would appeal that judgment.
Usually, when the affairs are the subject of an appeal before the Court, the final decision takes place about 16 months after. Therefore, in the case of Apple, in the year 2021.
“The european Commission maintains its objective to see all businesses pay their fair share of taxes,” added Ms. Vestager, in its press release.
This judgment awaited intervenes on the eve of another decision in a file, while also sensitive, this time concerning Facebook and the transfers of personal data from Europe to the rest of the world.
In the case of Apple, the case dates back to August 30, 2016 : Ms. Vestager had then decided to strike a blow against the multinational.
According to the Commission’s investigation, Apple was repatriated in Ireland, between 2003 and 2014, the total revenue earned in Europe (as well as in Africa, the Middle East and India), as the company benefited from a favourable tax treatment, thanks to an agreement with the authorities of Dublin.
The Commission noted that the group had escaped to the quasi-totality of the tax which he would have had to pay on that period, or about 13 billion euros, according to his calculations.
An advantage that was after Brussels a “State aid” is illegal, since it was at the expense of other enterprises subject to less favourable conditions.
But Apple — whose last annual turnover was 260,17 billion us dollars — as Ireland had refuted these arguments. And they had both appealed the decision of the Commission.
Apple had explained that it was paying $ 37 billion US $of taxes to the us tax authorities for profits made outside the United States, including $ 21 billion in respect of the period covered by the Commission.
For Dublin also, there was nothing illegal. Known for his positions are ” pro-business “, Ireland has drawn on the island of many multinational companies, providers of jobs, thanks to a significant tax benefit.
Setback for the ” tax lady “
For the Danish Margrethe Vestager, black beast of GAFA and known as the ” tax lady ” by the us president — precisely because of the case of Apple, this decision is a setback in the fight against a series of multinational companies who have benefited from a tax treatment that is judged to be too favourable.
In two similar cases, the european judges had given in September 2019 a first overview of their analysis.
They had refuted the arguments of the european Commission in relation to the american chain Starbucks, ordered to pay up to 30 million euros of tax arrears, the netherlands. On the other hand, in the case of Fiat, they had given them reason to Brussels, which required the Italian group for the payment in Luxembourg by a sum identical to undue tax advantages.
This case occurs in a particular context, where several european countries, including France, want to achieve a better enforcement of the giants of the digital, where they make a profit.