01:53 GMT29 November 2020
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    Under the Belgian provision, taxes can be reduced up to 90 percent using an “excess profits” definition allowable only to a multinational company.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Brussels opened an investigation into a controversial Belgian tax provision allegedly giving selective advantages to multinational companies by allowing them to avoid paying taxes with an “excess profit” ruling, a press release by the European Commission said Tuesday.

    Under the provision, taxes can be reduced up to 90 percent using an “excess profits” definition allowable only to a multinational company.

    “The Belgian ‘excess profit’ tax system appears to grant substantial tax reductions only to certain multinational companies that would not be available to stand-alone companies. If our concerns are confirmed, this generalized scheme would be a serious distortion of competition unduly benefiting a selected number of multinationals," Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said.

    According to the press release, local companies operating only in Belgium do not receive the same benefits as multinationals, which does not comply with EU state aid rules.

    The European Commission has been investigating tax provisions in EU member states since June 2013. In 2014, the Commission began examining whether certain multinational companies receive selective benefits in the context of issuing tax rulings in a number of EU member states.

    In particular Brussels has initiated four cases regarding Apple Inc. in Ireland, Starbucks Corporation in the Netherlands as well as Fiat Finance & Trade Ltd. and Amazon.com, Inc. in Luxembourg. The results of the investigation have not been disclosed.

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    Tags:
    European Union, business, taxes, investigation, European Commission, Belgium
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