Forgotten part to the review of economics for 2016 – 2017 March 4
EU ramped up campaign against corporate tax avoidance, Belgium ordering to recoup €700m tax, whilst Clinton in January planned a 4% tax on Y.S. wealthy.
The decision itself had been flagged up a month ago by Belgium’s finance minister, Johan Van Overtveldt, so it wasn’t really a surprise. But in announcing the decision, Ms Vestager went out of her way to highlight a common trait of those able to avoid taxes through the Belgian scheme (about €500m of the €700m).
“Most of the companies benefiting are European; it is also European companies that avoided the majority of the taxes under the scheme, which they now have to pay,”
she said at a midday news conference.
The statement stood out because it comes after American officials have privately raised concerns over the fact that three of the four initial cases in her corporate tax crackdown targeted US companies: Apple, Amazon and Starbucks. Last month, she expanded the list to include McDonald’s. The private grumbling became public in September when Robert Stack, the US Treasury’s man in charge of international tax policy, broke cover to complain about how the investigation would affect American corporate tax revenues, and Ms Vestager acknowledged that she had flagged up European companies in the Belgian scheme to emphasise her services’ impartiality.
“There is no such thing as a balance, because we do not keep scores of one or the others,”
“I address it directly because I, of course, hear the criticism that this is about US companies, which it is obviously not. It is about companies that are given selective privileges.”