Lawyers predict appeal in Apple tax battle

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The European Commission’s stand against tax deals for global corporations may be the start of a long legal journey, lawyers predict.

The Commission ruled that Apple owed €13 billion in back taxes for a period spanning over two decades. However, the Irish government has already stated its intention to appeal the decision.

John Cassels, competition partner at Fieldfisher, expects a delay of two or three years before a further hearing is scheduled, and a further two before a result emerges.

Lawyers criticised the business uncertainty caused by the decision and the expected subsequent delay, while raising questions as to whether multinational organisations will be tempted to move business away from EU member states.

“The EC may have good intentions towards creating a more level playing field,” said Tim Wach, managing director of Taxand, an international tax consultancy, “but the turmoil and confusion that arises from this ruling and the other recent and pending state aid cases is not conducive to improved business and investment confidence at a time when corporates are facing the challenges of slow growth across global markets.”