The European Union’s second highest court announced today (15 July) that the technology company Apple will not have to pay Ireland €13bn in back taxes, claiming there was not enough evidence to show Apple broke EU competition rules. It overturns a 2016 ruling which found the company had been given illegal tax breaks by Dublin. It has 14 days to appeal against the decision at the EU’s supreme court, the European Court of Justice.
Our Executive Coordinator, Dereje Alemayehu, in response to the court’s ruling:
“Even if we don’t know what will happen to the probable appeal of the European Commission, this is a huge victory for corporate tax dodgers and a defeat for all tax payers and citizens dependent on underfunded public services, especially at this crisis-ridden time. The technical juristic lingo in which the Court ruling against the European Commission “state aid” ruling is camouflaged, can be considered as another form of “public institution aid” to legitimise tax dodging!
It should be asked why the European commission’s ruling was based, in the first place, on “state aid” argument rather than a straightforward profit shifting case? Because profit shifting is not made illegal; because stashing in Ireland profits accrued from business activities in several countries and paying less than 1% on profits is not deemed an illegal means of “profit maximisation”.
This defeat should make it clear that the fight against tax dodging cannot be won over legal battles. We have to mobilise citizens to force governments to accept the basic and logical principle that corporations should pay taxes where they make the profits and sanction those jurisdictions facilitating profit shifting to avoid paying taxes where it is due. Allowing multinationals to stash their profits in one’s jurisdiction is stealing tax revenue from those countries! An inclusive intergovernmental process within the auspices of the UN should be created to facilitate tax cooperation between nation states for a fair distribution of taxing rights and to curtail profit shifting with impunity.”