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EU to probe into UK tax scheme for multinationals

Staff Writer |
The European Commission announced on Thursday it will open an in-depth investigation to establish if a British tax scheme might allow multinational groups to pay less tax on certain transactions, in breach of EU state aid rules.

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In recent years the commission has been cracking down on breaches to state aid rules in member states such as The Netherlands and Luxembourg, and ordered Ireland to collect EUR13 billion from Apple in unduly granted tax benefits.

"All companies must pay their fair share of tax," Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said in a statement.

"Anti-tax avoidance rules play an important role to achieve this goal. But rules targeting tax avoidance cannot go against their purpose and treat some companies better than others."

The commission said it has doubts whether the so-called Group Financing Exemption in Britain was compliant with EU rules.

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