Today, the General Court of the European Union annulled the Commission's 2016 state aid decision concerning Apple in Ireland. The European Commission had previously concluded that tax breaks approved by Apple in Ireland and Apple's European corporate structure had led to illegal state aid. The Commission decided that Apple should repay €13 billion plus interest in unpaid taxes, the largest sum ever in a state aid case.
In addition, the Commission will present its Tax Action Plan today. The plan aims to combat tax fraud and simplify tax legislation and consists of measures in the fight against tax evasion and avoidance.
Sven Giegold MEP, Greens/EFA Coordinator in the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and Member of the Subcommittee on tax, comments:
"Today's ruling by the General Court on illegal state aid to Apple in Ireland is a huge setback in the fight against tax dumping in Europe. EU state aid rules are clearly totally insufficient to tackle the problem. This must be a wakeup call for the Commission and Council to move forward on tax legislation. The EU urgently needs minimum effective tax rates, a common and consolidated corporate tax base, and public tax transparency.
"The German Presidency must put the tax reform proposals that are currently blocked on the ECOFIN agenda, and must secure a majority for corporate tax transparency through country-by-country reporting. The Council needs to move to majority voting on tax issues and the Commission should make new proposals on tax under Article 116 of the Treaties to avoid vetoes by individual Member States.
"The Parliament should organise a hearing and invite the Commission and the Council Presidency to discuss how we can finally deliver tax justice in the EU. In the light of huge public spending to counter the Covid-19 crisis citizens expect now European results for fair taxation."
Yesterday, the European Commission published its recommendation on state aid tax conditioning to ensure that state support is not granted to companies linked to tax havens.
The European Parliament recently created a standing subcommittee to look into tax transparency and to tackle tax evasion and avoidance: https://www.greens-efa.eu/en/