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U.S. and Europe in fight over tax investigations

Staff Writer |
The European Commission responded to an attack by the U.S. Treasury on its investigations into alleged sweetheart tax deals between big U.S. and European governments.

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The U.S. Treasury Department published a white paper that voiced concern at the EU executive's tax investigations, saying they departed from international taxation norms and would have an outsized impact on U.S. companies.

The European Commission said it treated all companies equally.

"EU law applies indiscriminately to all companies operating in Europe - there is no bias against U.S. companies. This is very clear if we look at the facts: In October 2015 the first state aid decisions on tax rulings concerned a European company, Fiat, as well as a U.S. company," a Commission spokeswoman said.

In the white paper, the U.S. Treasury Department said the Commission's approach departed from prior EU case law and undermined OECD guidelines on transfer pricing - the setting of prices for the transfer of goods or services from one subsidiary to another.

In addition, the EU should not seek to recover taxes from companies retroactively, the Treasury Department said, because it was a departure from prior practice.

"Imposing retroactive recoveries would undermine the G20’s efforts to improve tax certainty and set an undesirable precedent for tax authorities in other countries," the white paper said.


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