EU Commission’s Vestager takes Ireland to court for Apple’s €13 billion tax benefits

EPA / STEPHANIE LECOCQ

Danish EU Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager speaks at a news conference on a case of illegal tax benefits for US company Apple at the European Commission, in Brussels, Belgium, 30 August 2016.

EU Commission’s Vestager takes Ireland to court for Apple’s €13 billion tax benefits


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After Ireland has failed to recover the €13 billion of illegal state aid from Apple, the European Commission returns to the case, taking the member state to the European Court of Justice (ECJ)

Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager has decided to refer Ireland to court after Wednesday’s College of to the European Court of Justice for failing to recover from Apple illegal State aid worth up to €13 billion, as required by a Commission decision.

Referring to the decision of 30 August 2016, when the Commission concluded that Ireland’s tax benefits to Apple were illegal under EU State aid rules, because it allowed Apple to pay substantially less tax than other businesses, Vestager said that Ireland has to recover the full amount, even if the procedure will be more complex than others. The deadline for Ireland to implement the Commission’s decision on Apple’s tax treatment was 3 January 2017 in line with standard procedures of the EU’s competition law.

“We are always ready to assist,” said Vestager, adding that the EU member states need to make sufficient progress to restore competition. “That is why we have today decided to refer Ireland to the EU Court for failing to implement our decision.”

The Irish authorities have responded to the Commission’s decision to take them to court, saying they never agreed with its assessment in the first place, sticking to their original opinion on the issue: “It is extremely regrettable that the Commission has taken this action, especially in relation to a case with such a large scale recovery amount. Ireland has made significant progress on this complex issue and is close to the establishment of an escrow fund, in compliance with all relevant Irish constitution and European Union law,” said the Irish government on Wednesday.

However, Dublin underlines that all this time, the Irish government has been in “constant contact” with the Commission and Apple on all aspects of this process.

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