CJEU Joined Cases T-778/16 / T-892/16 | Commission v Ireland and Apple Operations Europe

Author Details
Author (Corporate)
Series Details T-778/16, T-892/16
Publication Date 2016-2020
Content Type


Judgment from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) concerning the decision taken by the European Commission on Ireland's tax rulings in favour of Apple.

Further information:

The European Commission adopted in August 2016 a decision regarding two tax rulings issued by the Irish tax authorities (Irish Revenue) - in 1991 and 2007 - in favour of Apple Sales International (ASI) and Apple Operations Europe (AOE), which were companies incorporated in Ireland but not tax resident in Ireland. The Commission considered such rulings constituted State Aid unlawfully put into effect by the Member State and was declared incompatible with the internal market. The Commission demanded the recovery of the aid in question, which amounted to €13 billion in tax advantages.

Ireland brought an Action to the CJEU in November 2016 requesting the Court to annul the Commission's decision (Case T-778/16). ASI and AOE also brought a similar action in December 2016 (Case T-892/16). The full explanation of the Commission's Decision was published on 19 December 2016 in the framework of these actions.

On 15 July 2020, the General Court annulled the contested decision because the European Commission did not succeed in showing to the requisite legal standards that there was an advantage for the purposes of Article 107(1) TFEU. The Commission was also wrong to declare that ASI and AOE had been granted a selective economic advantage and, by extension, State Aid. On 25 September, the Commission announced its decision to appeal the General Court's judgment.

A separate CJEU Case brought by the European Commission against Ireland concerned the recovery of the alleged state aid.

Related Link(s)
Commentary and Analysis
Wikipedia: EU illegal state aid case against Apple in Ireland https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EU_illegal_state_aid_case_against_Apple_in_Ireland
Politico, 19/12/2016: Apple’s rotten appeal https://www.politico.eu/article/opinion-apples-rotten-appeal/
Euro|topics, December 2016: Ireland and Apple take Brussels to court https://www.eurotopics.net/en/171627/
Tax Journal: Analysis, 01/02/2017: The EC’s state aid ruling on Apple https://www.taxjournal.com/articles/ec-s-state-aid-ruling-apple-02022017
Social Europe, 08/02/2017: What Hope For Civilisation If Apple Pays No Tax? https://www.socialeurope.eu/hope-civilisation-apple-pays-no-tax
KPMG: Insights, 15/07/2020: The EU Court Ruling on Apple - The KPMG view https://home.kpmg/ie/en/home/insights/2020/07/eu-court-ruling-apple-tax.html
Oxfam International: Press Release, 15/07/2020: Apple judgement shows EU must immediately address corporate tax reforms https://www.oxfam.org/en/press-releases/apple-judgement-shows-eu-must-immediately-address-corporate-tax-reforms
Eurodad: Press Release, 15/07/2020: Eurodad response to today’s EU court ruling in the Apple / Ireland tax-related state aid case https://www.eurodad.org/apple_ireland_state_aid_july_2020
Euro|topics, July 2020: Brussels loses tax case against Apple https://www.eurotopics.net/en/244186/
Taxation: Articles, 16/07/2020: Ireland did not grant Apple unlawful tax advantages https://www.taxation.co.uk/articles/ireland-did-not-grant-apple-unlawful-tax-advantages
White & Case, 17/07/2020: EU General Court strikes a blow to Commission approach to fiscal State aids in the Apple tax case https://www.whitecase.com/publications/alert/eu-general-court-strikes-blow-commission-approach-fiscal-state-aids-apple-tax
RTÉ News, 18/07/2020: Apple win won't ease pressure on Irish Corporation Tax system https://www.rte.ie/news/business/2020/0718/1153979-apple-tax/
Kluwer International: Tax Blog, 22/07/2020: Apple: One Case to Rule Them All http://kluwertaxblog.com/2020/07/22/apple-one-case-to-rule-them-all/
Deutsche Welle, 23/07/2020: Apple tax ruling for Ireland shines light on global tax avoidance https://p.dw.com/p/3fjCX
Forbes, 10/08/2020: A Closer Look At Apple’s Victory In EU Tax Case https://www.forbes.com/sites/taxnotes/2020/08/10/a-closer-look-at-apples-victory-in-eu-tax-case/#99e4a03f8a1a

BBC News, 19/12/2016: Apple fights back with appeal against EU Irish tax ruling https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-38362434
Deutsche Welle, 19/12/2016: Ireland to appeal EU's record $14B tax order on Apple https://p.dw.com/p/2UUci
Politico, 19/12/2016: Vestager, Apple up ante in historic tax dispute https://www.politico.eu/article/eus-e13-billion-tax-fight-with-apple-and-ireland-escalates/
EUObserver, 19/12/2016: Ireland vows to fight EU's Apple tax order https://euobserver.com/economic/136325
The Guardian, 19/12/2016: Ireland may not get Apple's €13bn back taxes in full, EU says https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/dec/19/apple-cut-euro-13bn-irish-tax-bill-spreads-payments-eu-us
EurActiv, 20/12/2016: Brussels discloses full decision on Apple’s tax schemes https://www.euractiv.com/section/euro-finance/news/brussels-discloses-full-decision-on-apples-tax-schemes/
Independent.ie, 31/01/2017: Vestager: Ireland must collect €13bn Apple tax - but other EU countries could claim share https://www.independent.ie/business/irish/vestager-ireland-must-collect-13bn-apple-tax-but-other-eu-countries-could-claim-share-35411205.html
Reuters, 24/04/2018: Ireland expects Apple EU tax appeal to be heard before end of year https://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKKBN1HV1OZ
The Guardian, 24/04/2018: Ireland expects Apple EU tax appeal to be heard in autumn https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/24/ireland-apple-eu-tax-appeal-autumn
Deutsche Welle, 17/09/2019: Apple appeals record €13 billion tax payment demanded by European Commission https://p.dw.com/p/3PjLH
Euronews, 18/09/2019: Apple spars with EU as £11.5 billion Irish tax dispute drags on https://www.euronews.com/2019/09/18/apple-spars-with-eu-as-11-point-5-billion-irish-tax-dispute-drags-on
Reuters, 15/07/2020: Crunch time for Apple in fight against $15 billion EU tax order https://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKKCN24G001
RTÉ News, 15/07/2020: Apple and Ireland win €13bn tax appeal https://www.rte.ie/news/business/2020/0715/1153349-apple-ireland-eu/
BBC News, 15/07/2020: Apple has €13bn Irish tax bill overturned https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-53416206
The Irish Times, 15/07/2020: EU court decision settles €13bn question: Apple’s money was never ours to tax https://www.irishtimes.com/business/economy/eu-court-decision-settles-13bn-question-apple-s-money-was-never-ours-to-tax-1.4305104
The Guardian, 15/07/2020: Apple does not need to pay €13bn Irish tax bill, EU court rules https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/jul/15/apple-does-not-need-to-pay-13bn-irish-tax-bill-court-rules
Bloomberg, 15/07/2020: Apple Wins Fight Over $14.9 Billion Tax Bill in Blow to EU https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-07-15/apple-wins-eu-court-fight-over-14-9-billion-tax-bill
Deutsche Welle, 15/07/2020: Apple, Ireland win €13 billion tax appeal in blow to EU https://p.dw.com/p/3fLKr
Politico, 15/07/2020: EU Court annuls €13B Irish tax bill for Apple https://www.politico.eu/article/eu-court-annuls-e13b-irish-tax-bill-for-apple/
Politico, 15/07/2020: Defeat on €13B Apple tax bill delivers big blow to EU’s Vestager https://www.politico.eu/article/defeat-on-13b-apple-tax-bill-delivers-big-blow-to-eu-margrethe-vestager-ireland/
The New York Times, 15/07/2020: Apple Scores Legal Victory Against $14.9 Billion E.U. Tax Demand https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/15/business/apple-eu-ireland-tax.html
EurActiv, 15/07/2020: Commission loses out in Apple-Ireland tax battle, announces tax abuse clampdown https://www.euractiv.com/section/digital/news/commission-loses-out-in-apple-ireland-tax-battle-announces-tax-abuse-clampdown/
Euronews, 15/07/2020: Apple and Ireland win appeal against €13 billion EU tax demand https://www.euronews.com/2020/07/15/decision-day-for-apple-in-appeal-against-eu-tax-order
RFI News, 15/07/2020: European court hands victory to Apple and Ireland in €13bn tax ruling https://www.rfi.fr/en/international/20200715-european-court-hands-victory-to-apple-and-ireland-in-%E2%82%AC13bn-tax-ruling
CityAM, 15/07/2020: Apple wins appeal against EU's €13bn Irish tax fine https://www.cityam.com/apple-wins-appeal-against-eus-e13bn-irish-tax-fine/
ICIJ: Paradise Papers, 15/07/2020: Apple dodges $15b tax bill in EU court appeal https://www.icij.org/investigations/paradise-papers/apple-dodges-15b-tax-bill-in-eu-court-appeal/
Delano, 15/07/2020: Apple wins €13bn EU tax trial https://delano.lu/d/detail/news/apple-wins-eu13bn-eu-tax-trial/211058?h=MTU5NDgwNTg5MQ==
TIME, 15/07/2020: EU Court Says Apple Does Not Owe $15 Billion in Back Taxes Over Irish Shell Companies https://time.com/5867011/eu-ruling-apple-back-taxes-irish-shell-companies/
EUObserver, 16/07/2020: EU Commission: Apple paying so little tax still unfair https://euobserver.com/economic/148967
The Irish Times, 30/07/2020: Apple case has caused Ireland ‘significant’ reputational damage – Donohoe https://www.irishtimes.com/business/economy/apple-case-has-caused-ireland-significant-reputational-damage-donohoe-1.4317805
The Guardian, 25/09/2020: European commission to appeal against €13bn Apple tax ruling https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/sep/25/european-commission-appeal-against-apple-tax-ruling-ireland
Associated Press, 25/09/2020: EU Commission appeals after losing Apple $15B tax case https://apnews.com/article/europe-archive-ireland-41167bab55a7187994a1ca5e04f336e1
Euronews, 25/09/2020: Brussels appeals court ruling that Apple doesn't need to pay €13 billion in back taxes https://www.euronews.com/2020/09/25/brussels-appeals-court-ruling-that-apple-doesn-t-need-to-pay-13-billion-in-back-taxes
RTÉ News, 25/09/2020: EU Commission to appeal Apple tax judgment https://www.rte.ie/news/2020/0925/1167361-apple-judgement-appeal/
BBC News, 26/09/2020: European Commission to challenge Apple tax bill verdict https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-54296405

CJEU CURIA: Case T-778/16 | Ireland v Commission http://curia.europa.eu/juris/documents.jsf?num=T-778/16
CJEU CURIA: Case T-892/16 | Apple Sales International and Apple Operations Europe v Commission http://curia.europa.eu/juris/documents.jsf?num=T-892/16
Ireland: Department of Finance: Press Release, 02/09/2016: Statement by the Minister for Finance on the Government Decision to appeal the Apple State aid decision https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/64d4f6-statement-by-the-minister-for-finance-on-the-government-decision-to-/
Ireland: Department of Finance: Press Release, 19/12/2016: Ireland publishes legal arguments in Apple State Aid case https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/1ea8e2-ireland-publishes-legal-arguments-in-apple-state-aid-case/
United States: Department of Treasury: Press Release, 19/12/2016: Treasury Spokesperson Statement on European Commission Apple Decision https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl0687.aspx
CJEU: Press Release, 15/07/2020: Judgment in Cases T-778/16, Ireland v Commission, and T-892/16, Apple Sales International and Apple Operations Europe v Commission https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/jcms/p1_3116953/en/
European Commission: Statement by Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager following today's Court judgment on the Apple tax State aid case in Ireland (15 July 2020) https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/statement_20_1356
Ireland: Department of Finance: Press Release, 15/07/2020: Initial comment by Department of Finance on GCEU ruling in the Apple State aid case https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/2f4d6-initial-comment-by-department-of-finance-on-gceu-ruling-in-the-apple-state-aid-case/
Irish Government: Department of Finance: Press Release, 25/09/2020: Minister Donohoe notes EU Commission’s decision to appeal Apple State aid case to the Court of Justice of the EU https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/77ec6-minister-donohoe-notes-eu-commissions-decision-to-appeal-apple-state-aid-case-to-the-court-of-justice-of-the-eu/
European Commission: Statement by Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager on the Commission's decision to appeal the General Court's judgment on the Apple tax State aid case in Ireland (25 September 2020) https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/statement_20_1746

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