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The company, which is being fined about 250 million euros following a three-year investigation, is the latest in a string of U.S. technology firms to face tax-related penalties in the European Union. An Amazon spokeswoman said the company is considering an appeal. (Jeffrey P. Bezos, the founder and chief executive of Amazon, also owns The Washington Post.)
According to the European Union, Amazon put “the vast majority” of its profits in a Luxembourg-based holding company, which allowed the company to avoid paying taxes on the bulk of its European profits between 2006 and 2014. Under Luxembourg’s tax laws, Amazon’s holding company — a limited partnership without employees, offices or business activities — was not subject to corporate taxes, which “granted a selective economic advantage to Amazon,” according to European authorities.
“Luxembourg gave illegal tax benefits to Amazon,” Margrethe Vestager, a commissioner for the European Union, said in a statement. “As a result, almost three quarters of Amazon’s profits were not taxed.”
“Member States,” she added, “cannot give selective tax benefits to multinational groups that are not available to others.”
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