Amazon and Apple bear brunt of EU’s most recent tax push

EU authorities have been on a crackdown over the amount of taxes paid by US tech giants Amazon and Apple.

The European Commission has ordered Amazon to pay €250 million (£222 million), as well as announcing plans to take the Irish government to the European court of justice (ECJ) after it failed to collect the €13 billion in unpaid taxes from Apple.

In relation to Amazon, the tech giant was given an unfair tax deal in Luxembourg, which allowed the company to pay four times less tax than local rivals.

An Amazon spokesperson said they did “not receive any special treatment from Luxembourg”.

“We will study the Commission’s ruling and consider our legal options, including an appeal,” they added.

Margrethe Vestager, the EU commissioner in charge of competition, said: “This is an illegal practice under EU state aid rules. Member states may not grant selective tax concessions to multinational groups to which other companies do not have access.”

Luxembourg’s government said in a statement: “As Amazon has been taxed in accordance with the tax rules applicable at the relevant time, Luxembourg considers that the company has not been granted incompatible state aid.”

Luxembourg’s role in orchestrating tax avoidance deals for hundreds of global companies was revealed by The Guardian in 2014. It was found that Amazon may have to pay $1.5 billion to US tax authorities.

In a separate statement, Vestager discussed the importance of Apple’s taxes unpaid taxes in Ireland and said there would be an appeal to make Dublin collect the money at hand.

“Irish officials and experts have been engaged in intensive work to ensure that the state complies with all its recovery obligations as soon as possible, and have been in constant contact with the European Commission and Apple on all aspects of this process for over a year,” said the Irish government in a statement.