Apple says Brussels made 'fundamental errors' when calculating its €13 billion Irish tax bill

Apple CEO Tim CookGetty Images NewsApple CEO Tim Cook.

Apple has submitted a legal document to the European Court of Justice arguing that the European Commission’s investigation into its tax affairs in Ireland was based on “fundamental errors,” The Financial Times (FT) first reported.

Last August, the commission ordered Apple to pay Ireland €13 billion (£11 billion) after it found that the Cupertino company had a favourable tax regime in the country that constituted to illegal state aid.

In the document, published by the European Courts of Justice on Monday, Apple makes 14 pleas in its appeal against the commission’s finding.

Apple’s two main claims are:

  1. Brussels made fundamental errors when interpreting a) the Irish tax law and b) how Apple makes its profits.
  2. The investigation was unfair.

The pleas specifically claim that the commission failed to conduct “a diligent and impartial investigation” and that it breached the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Apple argues that the commission did not give it the “right to good administration” because it failed to sufficiently explain how it reached its verdict.

At the time of the ruling, Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition commissioner, said: “Member states cannot give tax benefits to selected companies — this is illegal under EU state aid rules.

“The commission’s investigation concluded that Ireland granted illegal tax benefits to Apple, which enabled it to pay substantially less tax than other businesses over many years. In fact, this selective treatment allowed Apple to pay an effective corporate tax rate of 1% on its European profits in 2003 down to 0.005 per cent in 2014.”

Vestager said in Ireland last month: “The rules on state aid and special tax treatment have been clear for a long time. What has changed recently is that multinational companies have been pushing the boundaries of aggressive tax planning.”

A spokesperson for the European Commission told Business Insider: “The Commission will defend its decision in court.”

Apple and the European Courts of Justice did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

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