The battle between the tech giant Apple and the European Commission is only just getting started.
In August, competition authorities in Europe accused the U.S. multinational of accepting illegal state aid with its tax arrangements in Ireland – where its European headquarters are located. The U.S. multinational is reportedly launching this week a legal challenge against that decision.
The European Commission ruled that Apple should pay back 13 billion euros ($13.6 billion) – a decision contested by the Irish government itself, who argued that the EU was interfering with its sovereignty. Apple has previously argued that the commission’s decision is “maddening” and “political” and was confident that the bill would be overturned.
However, it doesn’t seem like the European Commission will be softening its position. A spokesperson told CNBC on Monday that “the Commission will defend its decision in court.” The Commission also justified its decision arguing that Ireland has not provided any basis for its “special treatment” to the U.S. firm, according to a report Monday by the Irish Times.
Brussels also said Monday that the two tax rulings issued by Ireland reduced significantly the tax paid by Apple since 1991, in a way that “did not correspond to economic reality,” the newspaper reported.
Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s commissioner for competition, argued shortly after presenting the decision in the summer that the ruling was “based on the facts,” which showed that Apple was paying a corporate tax rate of just 0.05 percent in Ireland.