Apple dealt blow at top EU court over €14.3bn tax bill in Ireland

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Apple has been dealt a blow by an adviser to the EU’s top court, who has handed a lifeline to the European Commission’s efforts to recover €14.3bn in back taxes over the tech giant’s dealings in Ireland.

Giovanni Pitruzzella, advocate-general of the European Court of Justice, the EU’s highest court, said in a non-binding opinion on Thursday that a landmark ruling quashing the EU’s order for the €14.3bn to be paid “should be set aside”.

Such opinions by advocates-general are often influential in final judgments by the EU’s top court.

The General Court, the EU’s second-highest court, ruled in 2020 that Brussels had failed to show Apple had received an illegal economic advantage in Ireland over tax.

But Pitruzzella said that court had “committed a series of errors in law” and “failed to assess correctly the substance and consequences of certain methodological errors”. As result, he said the court needed “to carry out a new assessment”.

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Apple said the General Court’s ruling “was very clear that Apple received no selective advantage and no state aid, and we believe that should be upheld”.

The commission said it did not comment on the opinions given by advocates general.

This is a developing story