The European Commission on Friday said that it would appeal a court ruling overturning its demand for a 13 billion euros ($14.5 billion) tax payment to the Irish government.
“The Commission has decided to appeal before the European Court of Justice the General Court’s judgment of July 2020 on the Apple State aid case in Ireland,” Margrethe Vestager, the head of competition policy in the EU, said in a statement.
Vestager said that the General Court raised “important legal issues” in its ruling, but added that “the Commission also respectfully considers that in its judgment the General Court has made a number of errors of law.″
The European Union General Court in July overturned a ruling by the European Commission that Apple should be forced to pay a $14.5 billion tax bill to the Irish government. The court ruled that the EU authority, led by antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager, failed to prove Ireland’s tax arrangements with the company were illegal state aid.
Apple has always funneled all of the revenue for its European Union sales through its European headquarters in Ireland. Apple likely selected the country due to its quite low rate of corporation taxes when compared to other EU countries (12.5%). The Irish government offered Apple an even better deal that meant the Cupertino firm paid even less in taxes.
The EU later ruled that the deal between Apple and Ireland was illegal. While Ireland was actually found to have broken the law, Apple was still on the hook for what the EU considered unpaid taxes. Apple and Ireland both appealed the ruling.
In reaction to the announcement on Friday, a spokesperson for Apple said: “We will review the Commission’s appeal when we receive it. However, it will not alter the factual conclusions of the General Court, which prove that we have always abided by the law in Ireland, as we do everywhere we operate.”
The Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU), the highest court in Europe, will make the final decision in the case.