Europe's highest court, the European Court of Justice, ruled that mobile carriers did not pay value added tax when they bought 3G licenses in the U.K. in 2000, which means firms like Vodafone and Orange are not entitled to tax refunds totaling €4.9 billion. The ruling is final and allows for no appeals, according to the BBC. The group of carriers, which also included T-Mobile and O2, argued they were entitled to recover taxes since their customers were the ultimate beneficiaries of the deal. The court, however, found that "the award of licenses did not constitute economic activity on which tax was paid," according to the BBC.
For more on the ruling:
- read this BBC article