On Tuesday, Apple challenged a controversial EU tax ruling in the region’s second-highest court.
In front of the EU General Court in Luxembourg, the iPhone maker opened arguments on Tuesday, against the 2016 EU ruling that deemed Ireland's low-tax rate on the company as an unfair form of state aid. EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager had ordered Apple to pay back 13 billion euros ($14.3 billion) in taxes to Ireland, alleging that the company had received “illegal” tax benefits over the course of two decades.
CEO Tim Cook called the ruling “total political crap.” Ireland called the ruling "an intrusion on its sovereignty".
Representatives from Apple, Ireland and the EU Apple were present at the EU General Court in Luxembourg Tuesday. The hearings are expected to last through Wednesday, although it might take months for a decision to arrive. The decision will likely be appealed to the EU’s highest court, the Court of Justice.
The European Commission argued that Apple’s effective corporate tax rate on its European profits in 2014 was just 0.005%. But Ireland countered the EU’s interpretation of Irish tax law. Apple’s lawyer Daniel Beard told the court Tuesday the regulator was seeking “headlines by quoting tiny numbers,” as reported by Reuters.