EU Orders Luxembourg to Recoup Almost $300 Million From Amazon
By Natalia Drozdiak and Sam Schechner
BRUSSELS-- Amazon.com Inc. must return EUR250 million ($294 million) to Luxembourg in allegedly unpaid taxes, the European Union's antitrust regulator ordered Wednesday.
The European Commission said Luxembourg had granted the e-commerce giant illegal state aid in the form of a 2003 sweetheart tax deal that illegally capped Amazon's tax payments to Luxembourg, to the detriment of other rivals.
"We 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," an Amazon spokesman said in response. Amazon added that it would consider an appeal. Both Amazon and Luxembourg can appeal the decision.
The decision is part of a broader effort by the EU to wring more money out of technology giants operating in Europe through various means.
The EU's antitrust regulator has scrutinized thousands of tax deals between governments and large multinationals and has opened formal investigations into a cluster of them.
Last year, the EU ordered Ireland to recover roughly EUR13 billion in allegedly unpaid taxes from Apple Inc. that the regulator said the company was able to avoid paying through illegal tax benefits granted by Dublin. Ireland and Apple are appealing the decision.
Separately on Wednesday, the commission referred Ireland to the European Court of Justice for failing to implement that decision.
Write to Natalia Drozdiak at email@example.com and Sam Schechner at firstname.lastname@example.org