“The Court annuls the contested decision because the Commission has failed to demonstrate at the required legal level that there was an advantage within the meaning of Article 107 (1) TFEU1”, said the judges, referring to EU competition rules.
Welcoming the decision, Apple said, “This case was not about the amount of tax we pay, but where we are required to pay it. We are proud to be the largest taxpayer in the world because we know the important role that tax payments play in society. ”
The historic European Commission decision against Apple was made in August 2016 by competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager in a decision that put Europe on the map as a bane of Silicon Valley.
The EU has accused Ireland of allowing Apple to park revenues from Europe, Africa, the Middle East and India and save it almost all taxes.
Brussels said it gave Apple an edge over other companies, allowing it to avoid around 13 billion euros ($ 14.8 billion) in Irish taxes between 2003 and 2014.
|Apple Comes Home: Tax Breaks Help Create Jobs in the United States (2:42)|
EU officials have argued that this constitutes illegal “state aid” to Ireland.
La position d’Apple
Apple CEO Tim Cook criticized the accusation at the time as “total political shit” and an EU attempt to disrupt the way multinationals pay taxes.
Apple claims that the profits in question were always intended for the United States where they were finally transferred after a tax reform in this country.
Ireland has called it an “astonishing” interpretation of tax law.
EU Competition President Vestager has been accused by US President Donald Trump of “hating” the United States.
He criticized her as a “tax lady” because of the Apple case and the hefty antitrust fines imposed on Google.
Some observers have expressed doubts about the Apple case, wondering if the EU was using antitrust law to suppress the tax optimization strategies of multinationals.