EU Scrutinises Belgium Tax Deals for Multinationals

The European Union (EU) has opened an investigation into tax breaks that Belgium may be granting multinational corporations (MNCs) in the latest of its reviews of ‘sweetheart’ tax deals across Europe.

Competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said that Belgium’s system was believed to breach EU rules on unfair state aid and that it “appears to grant substantial tax reductions only to certain multinational companies.

“If our concerns are confirmed, this generalised scheme would be a serious distortion of competition unduly benefitting a selected number of multinationals,” she said. Vestager did not name any specific companies.

The European Commission (EC), the EU’s executive arm, said the Belgian tax provision allows companies to reduce tax by registering “excess profits” that allegedly result from the advantage of being part of a multinational group.

Last month EU regulators charged Luxembourg with giving illegal tax breaks to Amazon. The EU is also investigating into tech giant Apple’s tax deals with Ireland, coffee shop chain Starbucks with the Netherlands and Italian carmaker Fiat, also with Luxembourg.

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