European Union investigating tax deals with Apple, Starbucks and Fiat

By Daniel S Levine,

The European Commission announced on Wednesday that it is launching an investigation into tax deals that EU member states have with Starbucks, Apple and Fiat. Investigators believe that the deals may violate antitrust laws and give these companies preferential treatment by allowing them to pay lower taxes.

“Under the EU's state aid rules, national authorities cannot take measures allowing certain companies to pay less tax than they should if the tax rules of the Member State were applied in a fair and non-discriminatory way,” Joaquín Almunia, the European Commission's competition commissioner, said in a statement, reports USA Today.

According to Reuters, the Commission is specifically looking at laws enacted by Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands that may be providing unfair tax relief to the multinational companies.

Apple has said that it had not received any special tax treatment from the Irish government. For its part, Ireland denied accusations that it broke state aid laws. As USA Today notes, a previous investigation into Apple’s relationship with Ireland had found no violations.

Fiat has declined to comment. Starbucks has denied any wrongdoing on its part in dealing with The Netherlands.

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