Starbucks Corp. won a court fight and a Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV unit lost one over European Union tax orders in decisions that left lawyers puzzling over the impact on Apple Inc.’s chances of toppling a record 13 billion-euro ($14.3 billion) bill.
Even though the amounts at stake in Tuesday’s rulings — about 30 million euros each for Starbucks and Fiat — aren’t huge, lawyers are now poring over the judgments ahead of multiple appeals as companies, including the iPhone maker, counter EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager’s five-year crackdown on allegedly unfair tax deals… The EU General Court in Luxembourg said Tuesday that the EU failed to show that coffee giant Starbucks obtained an unfair tax deal by the Netherlands. The judges threw out a similar challenge by Fiat over its fiscal arrangements in Luxembourg…
In the Apple case, the EU said Ireland illegally reduced the company’s tax bill, a finding Apple and Irish officials don’t accept.
Apple declined to comment Tuesday beyond pointing to its remarks in a hearing in its own appeal at the same court last week. It told judges it’s “now paying around 20 billion euros in tax in the U.S. on the very same profits that the Commission says should also have been taxed in Ireland.”
MacDailyNews Take: A glimmer of hope that the EC’s insane Apple tax grab will be barred?
There was no special deal that we cut with Ireland. We simply followed the laws in the country over the 35 years that we have been in Ireland. If the question is, was there ever a ‘quid pro quo’ that we were trying to strike with the Irish government – that was never the case. We’ve always been very transparent with the Irish government that we wanted to be a good corporate citizen. – Apple CFO Luca Maestri, September 2014