EU responds to US treasury complaints over commission investigation into tax arrangements

Caitlin Morrison
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Apple's tax arrangements with Ireland are being investigated by the EU (Source: Getty)

The EU has brushed off complaints from the US Treasury about its investigations into tax deals between companies like Apple and McDonald's and member states.

The US Treasury published a white paper yesterday in which it attacked the EU's tax probes, arguing that they will create an "unfortunate" precedent in international tax policies and leave US taxpayers footing the bill while further investigations into more companies could have a "chilling effect" on cross-border investment between the US and EU.

In addition, the Treasury said that recoveries imposed by the European Commission would have an "outsized impact on US companies".

In 2014, Ireland was accused of letting tech giant Apple shelter billions of dollars in profits via tax deals agreed in 1991 and 2007, which the EU said amounted to state aid and might have broken EU laws. The EU is also taking a look at Luxembourg's tax arrangements with McDonald's.

The Commission said it treated all companies equally.

"EU law applies indiscriminately to all companies operating in Europe - there is no bias against US companies. This is very clear if we look at the facts: In October 2015 the first state aid decisions on tax rulings concerned a European company, Fiat, as well as a US company," a Commission spokeswoman said.

She added that EU state aid rules forbid national governments from giving tax benefits to selected companies that are not available to others.

"These state aid rules and the relevant legal principles have been in place for a long time," the spokeswoman said.

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