Handelsblatt Exclusive

Punish Ireland, Not Apple

  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Rudolf Mellinghoff says the European Commission’s actions against Apple risk undermining the confidence of businesses operating across Europe.

  • Facts


    • The Federal Fiscal Court is one of five high courts in Germany established under the country’s constitution, known here as the “Basic Law.”
    • The Federal Fiscal Court has jurisdiction over fiscal matters like taxes and customs disputes.
    • The European Commission is demanding €13 billion in back taxes from Apple after it ruled that Ireland offered illegal subsidies to the U.S. companies.
  • Audio


  • Pdf
Rudolf Mellinghoff, Germany's top tax judge, sides with Ireland over Brussels when it comes to Apple. Source: Frank Beer for Handelsblatt

It’s perhaps one of the most controversial decisions taken by the European Commission this year. The E.U. executive is demanding that U.S. tech giant Apple pay €13 billion ($13.5 billion) in back taxes after ruling that long-time subsidies offered by Ireland amounted to illegal state aid.

Both Ireland and Apple are appealing the surprise decision from August, arguing that Brussels overstepped its authority. Now, Germany’s top tax judge has also come to their defense.

“The Apple decision reveals a dilemma. After all, it was Ireland that violated rules governing state aid, not Apple. And yet Apple is expected to take the fall,” Rudolf Mellinghoff, president of Germany’s Federal Fiscal Court, the highest German court for tax matters, told Handelsblatt in an interview.

Want to keep reading?

Subscribe now or log in to read our coverage of Europe’s leading economy.