Apple prepares for $14 billion tax battle in EU court

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Apple is going to court Tuesday.


Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Fresh off the launch of its 2019 iPhones, Apple is preparing to challenge a 13 billion euro ($14.4 billion) tax bill it got from the European Union in 2016. Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri will lead the company’s delegation into Luxembourg’s General Court on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

During the two-day hearing in the EU’s second highest court, the Cupertino, California, company will argue against the EU Competition Commission’s assertion that Apple had an unfair advantage that allowed it to pay less tax than it should have in Ireland, where its EU headquarters are located. The country’s tax system attracts many US tech companies, and Ireland will stand by Apple’s side in court.

Apple already started repaying some of the money the EU says it owes into an escrow account.


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“It’s been clear since the start of this case there was a pre-determined outcome. 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,” Apple said when it filed its appeal in December 2016.

“If their opinion is allowed to stand, Apple would pay 40% of all the corporate income tax collected in Ireland, which is unprecedented and, far from leveling the playing field, selectively targets Apple. This has no basis in fact or law and we’re confident the ruling will be overturned.”

The EU Competition Commission didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

First published at 5:41 a.m. PT.
Updated at 5:58 a.m. PT: Adds more detail.

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