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]In a ruling that echoes the Apple one of last year, European competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager has told Amazon that it has to pay around €250 million ($290 million) in back taxes. That’s after an in-depth, three-year-long aid investigation from the Commission concluded Luxembourg gave illegal tax benefits to Amazon of around that sum.
Luxembourg issued a tax ruling in 2003 which allowed Amazon to move the majority of its profits from a taxed company, Amazon EU, to a non-taxed one, Amazon Europe Holding Technologies.
Amazon said in a statement that they believe that Amazon did not receive any special treatment from Luxembourg and that we paid tax in full accordance with both Luxembourg and international tax law. The company will consider legal options, including an appeal.
The commissioner’s assessment of the holding company is particularly damning. While the operating company was the only entity actively taking decisions and carrying out activities linked to Amazon’s EU business, the holding company was an empty shell that simply passed on the intellectual property rights to the operating company for its exclusive use.
Last year, the European Commission established that Ireland violated EU law on competition by giving Apple undue tax benefits of up to €13 billion.
In a separate ruling, Vestager said she was referring Ireland to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for failing to recover that sum from Apple.