The EU is on a tax-hunting season, and Amazon has just been hit

Posted on November 2, 2017

Corporations have been freely running for a while now when it comes to tax evasion within the European Union. But apparently, that’s no longer the case, as regulator’s hunting season is on and they are quickly turning their aims towards the ‘big catches’.


Last year was a good one for those on the hunt, as Apple was ‘caught’ in an order released to Ireland by the E.U. to recover more than €13 billion on unpaid taxes from the tech giant, as the Commission in charge of the investigation found that the country granted undue tax benefits to the company, violating E.U. rules on the matter.


Now this year hasn’t come short, as Amazon has recently been ‘hit’ by a €250-million bullet after an investigation revealed that the company had an illegal tax agreement with Luxembourg.


By using a network of subsidiaries to transfer the company’s revenues towards a less-taxed entity based in Luxembourg, the company has allegedly dodged higher tax bills coming from other countries within Europe where they currently operate.


According to one of the EU’s top shooters, Margrethe Vestager, its top official in competition policy,”Amazon was allowed to pay four times less tax than other local companies subject to the same national tax rules”.


It seems that this popular corporate practice has been very profitable for companies and it has also been operating for a while, given that this legal arrangement from Amazon can be traced back to 2004.


The U.S.’s growing concern on the repatriation of “huge piles of cash”, as President Trump calls them, held by U.S. companies overseas has probably played a crucial role in this hunting season. It is leaving a large enough blood-trail to scare a few corporate deers, who are probably doing their best to hide until the season is over.


Big names such as Starbucks, Fiat, and McDonald’s, along with other 35 companies, have already been affected by these pay-back claims. And even though the countries being pointed as the ‘dealmakers’ are trying to wash their hands off the issue, the E.U. Commission doesn’t seem too willing to just let it go.


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