EU: Commission’s tax probe amplifies to include Amazon

As Europe launches an investigation into several member states and several major conglomerates about their tax relationship, reports say the probe has widened to include Amazon and its operations in Luxembourg.

Last June, the European Commission launched an investigation into Apple and its relationship with Ireland. The probe is looking at whether tax breaks offered by the nation give companies and unfair advantage or violate state aid rules.

Following that investigation launch, reports emerged that the Commission was also looking into Starbucks’ operations in the Netherlands and Fiat Finance and Trade’s operations in Luxembourg for similar reasons

While reports say the Commission is focused on the companies’ relationships with these nations, and not just the companies themselves, the firms could be burdened with fines or other sanctions should the Commission find that these tax practices distort competition across the EU.

Reports emerged late last week that Luxembourg’s relationship with Microsoft and McDonald’s was also in question.

As the European Commission’s competition arm is set for an overhaul following the departure of EU Commissioner Joaquin Almunia, experts are questioning the future of EU competition enforcement. Almunia is widely seen as having introduced an era of activism within the authority, as the competition watchdog uses its antitrust powers for cases that are not solely competition-related – such a companies’ tax relationships with EU nations.

Full content: ZDNet

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