​Starbucks, Fiat Chrysler Finance state aid appeal judgments due Sept. 24

5 August 2019 5:19pm
Fiat-Starbucks court appeals

1 Aug 2019. By Michael Acton and Nicholas Hirst.

Starbucks and Fiat Chrysler Finance will both find out on Sept. 24 if they have been successful in their respective court appeals against two landmark EU state aid tax decisions, MLex has learned.

The bloc’s lower-tier General Court will deliver its verdict on whether the EU was right to order the Netherlands to claw back 25.7 million euros ($28.6 million) in unpaid taxes from Starbucks, and when it ordered Luxembourg to recoup 23.1 million euros from Fiat Chrysler’s financial unit.

Starbucks and the Dutch government are hoping to overturn an October 2015 decision by the EU regulator that found the company had been granted a selective advantage by the country through tax rulings that allowed it to siphon off profits through intra-group transactions.

At a hearing in July last year, lawyers for Starbucks and the Dutch government argued that the commission overstepped its state aid powers and made factual errors in its decision.

Fiat and the government of Luxembourg, meanwhile, are challenging an EU decision announced on the same day in October 2015 that found a tax ruling in Luxembourg gave Fiat an illegal advantage.

In June last year, lawyers for Fiat and the government told judges the watchdog’s decision was based on principles “created on a whim” which created legal uncertainty about national tax rules.

September is shaping up to be an eventful month in court for the EU's state aid regulator, as a two-day hearing in Apple’s appeal of a similar EU state aid decision will also start on Sept. 17, just a week before the Starbucks and Fiat judgments are announced.

Ireland was ordered to claw back 14.3 billion euros in back taxes from Apple in 2016, including interest.

The court reference numbers for the cases for Starbucks are joined cases T-760/15 Kingdom of the Netherlands v Commission and T-636/16 Starbucks v Commission.

The court reference numbers for Fiat are joined cases T-755/15 Luxembourg v Commission and T-759/15 Fiat Chrysler Finance Europe v Commission.