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European Commission - Statement
 
Statement by Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager following today's
Court judgment on the Apple tax State aid case in Ireland
 
Brussels, 15 July 2020
 
"Today's judgment by the General Court annuls the Commission's August 2016 decision that Ireland
granted illegal State aid to Apple through selective tax breaks. We will carefully study the judgment
and reflect on possible next steps.

The Commission's decision concerned two tax rulings issued by Ireland to Apple, which determined the
taxable profit of two Irish Apple subsidiaries in Ireland between 1991 and 2015. As a result of the
rulings, in 2011, for example, Apple's Irish subsidiary recorded European profits of US$ 22 billion (c.a.
€16 billion) but under the terms of the tax ruling only around €50 million were considered taxable in
Ireland.

The Commission stands fully behind the objective that all companies should pay their fair share of tax.
If Member States give certain multinational companies tax advantages not available to their rivals, this
harms fair competition in the EU. It also deprives the public purse and citizens of funds for much
needed investments – the need for which is even more acute during times of crisis.

In previous judgments on the tax treatment of Fiat in Luxembourg and Starbucks in the Netherlands,
the General Court confirmed that, while Member States have exclusive competence in determining
their laws concerning direct taxation, they must do so in respect of EU law, including State aid rules.
Furthermore, the General Court also confirmed the Commission's approach to assess whether a
measure is selective and whether transactions between group companies give rise to an advantage
under EU State aid rules based on the so-called 'arm's length principle'.

The Commission will continue to look at aggressive tax planning measures under EU State aid rules to
assess whether they result in illegal State aid. At the same time, State aid enforcement needs to go
hand in hand with a change in corporate philosophies and the right legislation to address loopholes and
ensure transparency. We have made a lot of progress already at national, European and global levels,
and we need to continue to work together to succeed."

STATEMENT/20/1356 
Press contacts:
Arianna PODESTA (+32 2 298 70 24)
Maria TSONI (+32 2 299 05 26)
General public inquiries: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 67 89 10 11 or by email

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