EU orders recovery of US$760 million in illegal tax breaks from 35 multinationals

BRUSSELS -- The European Union has ordered Belgium to recover some $760 million in illegal tax breaks from 35 multinationals, its latest ruling against the sweet deals many member states offered to some of the world's biggest companies.

See Full Article

EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Monday the tax advantage given to a select group of mainly European companies "distorts competition" by putting smaller competitors "on an unequal footing."

"National tax authorities cannot give any company, however large, however powerful an unfair competitive advantage compared to others," Vestager said. "This scheme puts smaller competitors at an unfair disadvantage."

Belgian Finance Minister Johan Van Overtveldt said he could still appeal the decision before the EU's high court depending on negotiations on how to claw back the taxes. "The consequences for the companies involved could be major, and the recovery extremely complex," he said.

Since the EU ruled on a government taxation system instead of deals with specific companies, it did not name any multinational involved beyond noting that they were mainly European.

Under the system, Vestager said multinationals did not have to pay taxes on more than 50 per cent of their actual profits. Sometimes it went as high as 90 per cent.

"We know of no other scheme similar to this, probably that was one reason it was named 'only in Belgium'," Vestager said.

The disclosure that multinationals have benefited from huge tax breaks across Europe has become a big political issue at a time when many governments have been raising taxes on their citizens in an attempt to balance the books.

Over the past months, Vestager's office has gone after several member states, including the Netherlands and Luxembourg and targeted companies like Fiat and Starbucks. It has three more tax probes ongoing, centring on U.S. companies like Apple, Amazon and McDonald's.

Vesteger has faced criticism that she has unduly focused on U.S. companies. On Monday, she denied that the latest ruling was part of a balancing act.

"I, of course, hear the criticism that this is about US companies, which it is obviously not," Vestager said.



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • Why do you need a pet insurance, right here, right now

    Economic 24news
    Many Canadians would consider their pets as a part of their immediate, granular, family. Although some professionals think it’s not healthy, that’s the way life is in the twenty first century; There is a steep decline in the birth rate globally, with Japan leading the pack, and pets are filling in the void.
  • 'Archaic' liquor laws in B.C. hurt consumers, whisky distributor says

    Economic CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- An Alberta-based whisky distributor says "archaic" liquor policies in British Columbia are limiting the range of products consumers can access. Robert Carpenter with the Scotch Malt Whisky Society says B.C. bars have long skirted rules that prevent them from buying unique products at private liquor stores that aren't carried at government stores. Source
  • With a deep tech talent pool, Toronto could hit Amazon's 'sweet spot' with bid for new HQ

    Economic CBC News
    Toronto faces stiff competition in its bid to court Amazon, but some Canadian tech experts agree that among the 20 cities short-listed as potential locations for the company's second headquarters, Toronto might just hit "the sweet spot. Source
  • HBC's Lord & Taylor to lay off 200 in U.S. operations move

    Economic CTV News
    WILKES-BARRE, Pa. -- Lord & Taylor has announced that it will be laying off about 200 people at a Pennsylvania distribution centre as it moves some operations to a new location about 80 kilometres away. Source
  • Four things to watch for in the Canadian business world in the coming week

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- Four things to watch for in the Canadian business world in the coming week: Time to have "the talk"? Alimentation Couche-Tard's hosts its first-ever investor day on Monday. The large convenience store chain, which operates as Circle K outside Quebec, recently said it hasn't given up hope of selling cannabis as some Western Canadian provinces turn to the private sector for over-the-counter sales. Source
  • Canadian tech CEOs disappointed Amazon won't be coming to their cities

    Economic CTV News
    CALGARY -- Tech sector entrepreneurs whose Canadian cities were snubbed by Amazon in its search for a second corporate campus say they are disappointed, despite fears they would have seen increased competition for scarce skilled talent. Source
  • Rogers sales tactics and the 'Tide pod challenge': CBC's Marketplace consumer cheat sheet

    Economic CBC News
    Miss something this week? Don't panic. CBC's Marketplace rounds up the consumer and health news you need. Want this in your inbox? Get the Marketplace newsletter every Friday. Rogers employees reveal sales pressures A number of Rogers employees have come forward about how they are coached to upsell customers. Source
  • Macron says U.K. can't keep full access to E.U. post-Brexit

    Economic CTV News
    LONDON -- French President Emmanuel Macron has suggested that Britain is likely to negotiate a unique relationship with the European Union before it leaves the bloc next year, while stressing that any agreement must be consistent with EU rules. Source
  • Retrofitting suburbia: Old shopping malls can be saved by their parking lots

    Economic CBC News
    Aging shopping centres, built decades ago as beacons of fashion and free parking on the suburban fringe, are gradually becoming relics on a sea of inner-city asphalt. But rather than tinker at the margins to squeeze the last nickels out of old stores, some retailers are doing something dramatic with their biggest asset: land. Source
  • Want to understand the problems with minimum wage? Talk to people who earn it

    Economic CBC News
    There are more than a million Canadians who work minimum wage jobs — they make up 8 per cent of the country's salaried employees. The hourly rate they earn varies across the country, from a low of $10.85 in Nova Scotia, to Alberta where the minimum wage is set to increase to $15 in October 2018. Source