EU tax probes on Apple, Amazon, Starbucks at advanced stage: European Commission
By Foo Yun Chee
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU regulators' investigations into the low tax arrangements of Apple (AAPL.O: Quote), Starbucks (SBUX.O: Quote) and Amazon (AMZN.O: Quote) in some member states are at an advanced stage and decisions could be announced in the coming months, a senior European Commission official said on Thursday.
The investigations centre on Luxembourg's tax rulings for online retailer Amazon and carmaker Fiat Chrysler (FCHA.MI: Quote), as well as coffee chain Starbucks' deal with the Netherlands and iPhone maker Apple's Irish arrangements, and whether the companies are paying a fair share of tax.
"The cases are advancing very well. I expect decisions to be taken in the not so distant future," Gert-Jan Koopman, deputy director general at the Commission, told a conference.
European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said last month she would not be able to meet a second quarter deadline as targeted and would not set another deadline for her decision.
The global financial crisis and cash-strapped governments have spurred a crackdown on tax avoidance and prompted complaints that deals which help companies cut their tax bills to a minimal level may give them an unfair advantage in breach of EU rules.
The European Commission is also investigating Belgium's tax arrangements for multinationals and on Thursday it opened a formal antitrust investigation into Amazon's e-book business.
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Susan Fenton)
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