The United States government is calling on the General Court of the European Union to intervene in Apple's tax case with the European Commission. Reuters reports that the U.S. government has filed the application, citing a source who is close to the matter.
“I can confirm the United States filed an application with the European Union General Court to intervene in the case involving the retroactive application of state aid rules to Apple,” the unnamed source confirmed.
Last August, the European Commission closed a three-year investigation against Apple. The regulatory body found the company had received illegal state aid from Ireland. Specifically, Apple allegedly only paid between 0.005 percent and 1 percent in taxes between 2003 and 2014. For perspective, Ireland usually has a 12.5 percent corporate tax rate.
So, the iPhone maker was given a tax break. The EU ordered the company to pay back up to 13 billion euros ($14.8 billion) in back taxes in Ireland. Apple has since appealed the case, taking it to the General Court in Luxembourg.
It is unclear whether the U.S. government application was filed recently or was lodged last year. This means it could either of come from the Barack Obama or Donald Trump administrations. Both have certainly made enough noise to suggest it could have been either administration.
Obama previously criticized the ruling, saying the cash should ultimately go to the United States and not the EU. While Trump or his administration has not mentioned the case specifically, part of his policy is a proposed tax break of $2.6 trillion in offshore corporate profits.
The EU General Court will open the case in 2018. Apple has also received support from Ireland, which argues it did not give the company a tax break.
EU vs. Tech Giants
Microsoft has had its fair share of problems with the EU. The Commission is notoriously tough on companies and is currently holding a complaint against Microsoft for Kaspersky Lab. The Russian security company says Microsoft makes it hard for third-party anti-virus companies to operate on Windows 10.
Last week, the EU handed Google a record fine of $2.7 billion. The company was hit hard for the way it manages shopping searches, according to the Commission.