Pretoria News - - FOCUS -

AMA­ZON.COM, the world’s largest on­line re­tailer, is fight­ing a €250 mil­lion (R4.33 bil­lion) tax bill over its fis­cal ar­range­ments in Lux­em­bourg, ac­cus­ing EU reg­u­la­tors of care­less­ness and ig­nor­ing ev­i­dence. The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion’s de­sire to show that a tax ar­range­ment in 2003 gave Ama­zon an ad­van­tage “has led it astray” from its duty as an im­par­tial reg­u­la­tor, Michel Pe­tite, a lawyer for Ama­zon, told judges of the EU Gen­eral Court at the start of a two-day hear­ing in Lux­em­bourg. The EU de­ci­sion’s “un­ten­able rea­son­ing” would lead to an “im­pos­si­ble con­clu­sion” that would as­sume Ama­zon “gave its tech­nol­ogy on the mar­ket for free”, he said. “Ama­zon would not be in busi­ness.” In 2017 the ECde­cided Lux­em­bourg had granted the in­ter­net gi­ant deals that al­lowed it to cut its tax­able prof­its “to a quar­ter of what they were in re­al­ity”, in vi­o­la­tion of EU state-aid rules. The tax pay­back or­der came amid a string of EU de­ci­sions since 2015, in­clud­ing a record €13bn recovery or­der for Ap­ple, and so far in­con­clu­sive court judg­ments. I Bloomberg

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