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December 20, 2016

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Apple appeals landmark EU tax decision

APPLE yesterday launched a legal challenge against a landmark EU decision that the tech giant pay billions in back-taxes to Ireland, claiming the EU has ignored the law.

The European Commission, the EU executive arm, in August ordered iPhone maker Apple to reimburse a record 13 billion euros (US$14 billion) in unpaid taxes in Ireland.

The European Union, led by its competition chief Margrethe Vestager, accused Ireland of handing Apple a secret tax deal that allowed the iPhone maker to enjoy almost zero tax on all its sales worldwide for more than a decade.

The deal breached the EU’s state aid rules, argued Vestager, a former Danish finance minister, who has made clamping down on tax deals a priority.

“It’s been clear since the start of this case there was a pre-determined outcome,” a spokeswoman for Apple said, confirming the appeal.

“The commission took unilateral action and retroactively changed the rules, disregarding decades of Irish tax law, US tax law, as well as global consensus on tax policy, that everyone has relied on,” the spokeswoman added.

The appeal, lodged at an EU court in Luxembourg, came after the bloc’s antitrust teams released its full 130-page argumentation in the case.

“The commission will defend its decision in court,” the commission said in a statement.

The Irish government accused Brussels of a major breach of national sovereignty.



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