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EU order for Apple to pay €13bn tax bill to Ireland “defies reality and common sense”

The European Union’s order for Apple to pay €13bn in back taxes to Ireland “defies reality and common sense”, the company said today as it and the Government launched a two-pronged legal challenge against the 2016 ruling.

The iPhone maker accused the European Commission of using its powers to combat state aid “to retrofit changes to national law”, in effect trying to change the international tax system and in the process creating legal uncertainty for businesses.

Apple’s arguments at Europe’s second-highest court, the General Court in Luxembourg, came after the EU executive in 2016 said the tech giant benefited from illegal state aid due to two Irish tax rulings that artificially reduced Apple’s tax burden for more than two decades.

Lawyers representing the State said Ireland had been the subject of entirely unjustified criticism and argued that the Apple tax case reflected a mismatch between the Irish and US tax systems.

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