Apple Wins Irish Tax Battle Against E.U.

Valentina Pop and Sam Schechner, reporting for The Wall Street Journal (News+):

Apple Inc. won a major battle with the European Union when the bloc’s second-highest court on Wednesday sided with the U.S. company over a €13 billion ($14.8 billion) tax bill that EU antitrust officials had said the company owed to Ireland. The decision was a rebuke to Margrethe Vestager, who is leading the charge at the European Commission to rein in alleged abuses by big tech companies including Apple, Alphabet Inc.’s Google, and Inc. […]

Apple and Ireland on Wednesday applauded the annulment of the tax case. Ireland reiterated that it gave no special treatment to Apple, and said that the company had paid taxes according to “normal Irish taxation rules.”

Apple said that it supports international talks over how countries should divide up taxation rights for multinational companies. “This case was not about how much tax we pay, but where we are required to pay it. We’re proud to be the largest taxpayer in the world as we know the important role tax payments play in society,” an Apple spokesman said. […]

It’s perfectly reasonable and perhaps correct to argue that Apple, along with all other titanic corporations today, should pay more in taxes. But Apple is not one of these companies that somehow makes a fortune yet pays no or little in taxes — they really are the biggest taxpayer in the world, and I really do think it’s true that they pay what they owe, worldwide. If you think they should pay more, your beef is with the law, not Apple’s compliance with them or their accounting practices.

“Sometimes, the Commissioner for Competition would be well-advised to restrain her eagerness for catchy political headlines and instead prepare her cases more thoroughly, so that they can hold up in a court of law,” said German center-right MEP Markus Ferber, who in 2016 backed the commission’s decision against Apple. “High-profile decisions like these being overturned is quite the disservice to the cause of tax justice,” he said.

I think that’s a harsh burn from a German.

Wednesday, 15 July 2020