The European Union is launching a formal investigation into the tax affairs of Apple, Starbucks and Fiat over allegations the firms’ tax relationships with several EU nations violates antitrust law.
In a statement announcing the opening of the investigation, Joaquín Almunia, the European Commission’s competition commissioner, said: “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.”
The probe will specifically address whether decisions made by tax authorities in Ireland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg breached EU rules on state aid.
A prior investigation into Apple’s tax affairs in Ireland cleared the technology company of any wrongdoing there. “Ireland is confident that there is no state aid rule breach in this case and we will defend all aspects vigorously,” the nation’s finance ministry said in a statement Wednesday, responding to the fresh allegations.
Requests to Apple for comment were not immediately returned. Fiat declined to comment.
“We comply with all relevant tax rules, laws and OECD guidelines and we’re studying the Commission’s announcement related to the state aid investigation in the Netherlands,” Starbucks said, commenting on the case.
SOURCE: Kim Hjelmgaard