The second-highest court in the European Union will make a ruling next week regarding Apple and Ireland’s appeal of a $16 billion fine in back taxes for Apple.
The European Commission ordered Apple pay the sum in August 2016. This was based on a so-called sweetheart deal under which Apple allegedly received favorable tax rates in Ireland.
The EC investigation alleged that Apple paid the equivalent of as little as 0.005% on all European profits in 2014. Ireland did not initially want to claim the money from Apple (Apple is a major employer in Ireland). However, it eventually did after the EU threatened Ireland with legal action.
Apple paid the last installment of its payment in September 2018. But it continues to argue that it should not have to. It is disputing the case in court, which is what next week’s decision will contribute toward. In reality, though, it’s likely that this case will go on for some time — making next week’s decision just another step in the process. Nonetheless, it may give some indication of the direction things are headed in.
“I think that no matter what the judgment is, this case will almost certainly be appealed by one party or another to the European Court of Justice,” said Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar. Whichever side wins, it is likely that the other side will appeal.
Until a final verdict is reached, Apple’s (now the EC’s) money is being held in an escrow account. In March, there was some dispute in Ireland over whether this sum could be used to help out during the coronavirus pandemic.