The European Commission is continuing its battle with Silicon Valley tech giants by taking Ireland to court, demanding that it reclaim a $17.6 billion tax payment it is owed by Apple.
In addition, it is demanding that Amazon pay it 250 million euros ($294 million) on the grounds that is has enjoyed an illegal “sweetheart deal” in Luxembourg.
Speaking about Apple, European Commissioner Margrethe Vestager stated that the E.C. is taking Ireland to the European Court of Justice, on account of its failure to collect a year-old tax bill from Apple. The European Union handed Apple the massive tax bill in August last year, claiming the company took advantage of illegal state aid that allowed it to route profits through Ireland.
The investigation alleged that Apple paid the equivalent of as little as 0.005 percent on all European profits in 2014. Despite the payment being owed back in January, both Ireland and Apple have continued to argue against it.
Vestager said that, “We understand that recovery in certain cases maybe more complex than in others, and we are always ready to assist. But member states need to make sufficient progress to restore competition.” If Ireland is found guilty by the European Court of Justice, it may be fined for its failure to collect Apple’s money.
Amazon is the next tech giant to be targeted
Amazon, meanwhile, is the next tech giant after Apple to find itself scrutinized by the European Commission. The E.C. has ordered that the retailer pay millions in back taxes on account of having been given an unfair tax arrangement which broke E.U. rules on state aid.
“Amazon was allowed to pay four times less tax than other local companies subject to the same national tax rules,” Vestager said. “Member states cannot give selective tax benefits to multinational groups that are not available to others.”
Amazon has issued an official statement claiming that, “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. We will study the Commission’s ruling and consider our legal options, including an appeal.”