On Tuesday, In European Union court Apple Inc. went on the offensive against Brussels, opposing the decision of the European Commission that the manufacturer of iPhone refund Ireland 13 billion euros in tax arrears.
Apple’s lawyer Daniel Beard told the EU’s lower General Court that the EU’s tax demand, delivered in 2016, “defies reality and common sense, commission’s conclusion is wrong”.
The Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager delivered historic decision of commission in August 2016, a shock decision that put Europe at the forefront of an emerging effort to rein in the power of US big tech.
Apple’s Lawyers faced EU officials in the Luxembourg court, challenging a decision that CEO Tim Cook slammed at the time as “total political crap”.
The EU accuses Apple of parking untaxed revenue earned in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and India in Ireland, which has become a European hub for US-based big tech.
This privilege allegedly gave Apple an advantage over other companies, allowing it to avoid taxes between 2003 and 2014 of around 13 billion euros which, according to Brussels, constituted illegal “state aid” by Ireland.
The judges are not expected to hand down their decision before 2020 and any appeal would then go the EU’s highest court, the European Court of Justice, for a final ruling that could land as late as 2021.
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