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EU hits Amazon with $294 mn tax bill, takes Ireland to court over Apple tax

EU nations are actively looking to close loopholes for US internet multinationals and are considering harmonised tax rules

AP | PTI  |  Brussels 

With many tie-ups, Amazon goes big on its mobile wallet

The is telling member state Luxembourg to get $295 million in back taxes from Amazon, in Brussels' latest regulatory move targeting US tech accused of avoidance. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager also took Ireland to for failing to collect a massive 13 billion euros ($15.3 billion) in taxes from Apple,arguing that, like in Amazon's case, the company had profited from a system allowing it to escape most of its taxes the felt were due. Vestager said today that US giant online retailer unfairly profited from special low conditions since 2003 in the tiny Grand Duchy, where its European headquarters are based. The nations are actively looking to close loopholes for US internet multinationals and are considering harmonised rules. said in a statement it believed it "did not receive any special treatment from Luxembourg and that we paid in full accordance with both Luxembourg and international law." It said it would consider appealing after studying the ruling. Luxembourg too said it might appeal, but stressed it is "strongly committed to transparency and the fight against harmful avoidance." Criticism over sweetheart deals struck by states with big multinationals has increased over the past years, especially as the bloc struggled through a financial crisis over the past decade. It focused on foreign multinationals being able to get away with huge breaks on profits as nations competed with each other to lure looking for a place to establish their headquarters. Vestager said that Luxembourg had offered "illegal benefits to As a result, almost three quarters of Amazon's profits were not taxed." "In other words, was allowed to pay four times less than other local subject to the same national rules," she said. The issue was not so much that the got breaks but that they were available only to them, Vestager said. "Member states cannot give selective benefits to multinational groups that are not available to others." Vestager already ordered Ireland to claw back up to 13 billion euros from Apple last year, but said Wednesday that Ireland hadn't made the necessary haste as none was recovered so far. "More than one year after the Commission adopted this decision, Ireland has still not recovered the money, also not in part," she said.

First Published: Wed, October 04 2017. 16:57 IST