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EU’s Apple, Amazon, Fiat and Starbucks Tax Inquiry Postponed

Aarti Maharaj | May 6, 2015

European Competition Commisioner Margrethe Vestager has delayed taking further action on Amazon, Starbucks, Fiat Finance and Trade (Fiat), and Apple’s tax probe since obtaining information has been tougher than she expected, according to a report in Bloomberg

In a testimony, Vestager told a special committee on tax rulings at the European Parliament that she had planned to complete all four cases before the end of the second quarter, which she inherited after taking office last November, but retrieving information has been a major obstacle in these cases.  As a result, she will no longer be able to hit the self-imposed deadline of late spring for these cases. While Vestager did not give a new deadline for the completion of these cases this does not mean that these companies will be off the hook for long.

The Commission has been closely monitoring tax deals that certain European Union countries have with companies like Apple, Amazon, Starbucks and Fiat Finance and Trade.

Apple received intense scrutiny amid reports that the tech giant moved $74 billion over a four-year period to an Irish subsidiary where it dodged paying a dime in taxes.  

Vestager has been busy over the past couple of weeks with Google and Gazprom antitrust cases. These tax cases, however, are different because they are not based on antitrust regulations.

The New York Times reports that Apple could be ordered to pay large sums of money to Dublin. Meanwhile, Amazon and Fiat may have to make payments to Luxembourg, and a ruling against the Netherlands might burn a hole in Starbuck’s wallet.