Luxembourg appeals EU order to recoup 250 mn euro Amazon tax bill

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The government of Luxembourg on Friday said it has launched an appeal against an EU order to recoup 250 million euros ($295 million) in back taxes from Amazon, in a case linked to a tax break granted the internet shopping giant.

"Luxembourg believes that the (European) Commission has not established the existence of a selective advantage (within European Union law)," the government said in a statement, referring to EU state aid laws on fair competition.

Europe's competition chief Margrethe Vestager in October accused tiny Luxembourg of an illegal deal with internet shopping giant Amazon to pay less tax than other businesses.

The EU said Luxembourg granted Amazon illegal tax benefits that meant almost three quarters of Amazon's profits were not taxed.

Launched three years ago, the European Commission's probe was part of several investigations into sweetheart tax arrangements between major companies and several EU countries.

Luxembourg, which has been under fire for its tax deals with multinationals, insisted the appeal was only "to obtain legal certainty" and "does not put into question Luxembourg's strong commitment to tax transparency and the fight against harmful tax practices."

The EU's hard-charging Vestager in 2016 ordered tech icon Apple to repay 13 billion euros ($14.5 billion) in back-taxes to Ireland in a decision that shocked the world.

Her cases were part of a wider offensive by the EU on Silicon Valley behemoths as Europe seeks ways to regulate them more tightly on issues ranging from privacy to taxation.

The EU is also considering drawing up a special tax targeting Google and Facebook, a policy championed by French President Emmanuel Macron.

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© 2017 AFP

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