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Amazon wins $270 mln tax fight in blow to EU’s Vestager

The logo of U.S. online retailer Amazon is displayed at a logistics centre in Trapagaran, northern Spain, November 22, 2023. REUTERS/Vincent West/File Photo
The logo of U.S. online retailer Amazon is displayed at a logistics centre in Trapagaran, northern Spain, November 22, 2023. REUTERS/Vincent West/File Photo

Amazon (AMZN.O.) will not be required to pay back taxes to Luxembourg for 250 million euros ($273 million), according to a ruling made by the highest court in Europe on Thursday. This decision represents a setback for EU antitrust head Margrethe Vestager’s efforts to crack down on favorable tax treaties for multinational corporations.

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), which is situated in Luxembourg, issued a statement that stated, “The Court of Justice confirms that the European Commission has not established that the tax ruling given to Amazon by Luxembourg was state aid that was incompatible with the internal market of the European Union.”

Their choice is irrevocable. We are pleased with the decision, demonstrating that Amazon complied with all regulations and did not get any preferential treatment. “A spokesperson for Amazon expressed their excitement about the prospect of continuing to concentrate on delivering for our customers located throughout Europe.”

Chiara Putaturo, an expert on EU taxes for Oxfam, voiced her disapproval of the decision.

“Amazon got an early Christmas present this year, as the company dodged its decade-old tax bill to Luxembourg and can continue to do so,” according to Putaturo. “Because of this, the European Union has to go forward with genuine tax changes. It may begin by not disregarding the fact that there are tax havens inside its boundaries that enable businesses to avoid paying their taxes by using vacant offices, as she said.

Vestager has a mixed track record when defending tax judgments against legal challenges, as seen by the court’s judgment against the European Union.

At the beginning of this month, the French utility company Engie (ENGIE.PA) prevailed in its challenge to an order from the European Union to pay back taxes to Luxembourg totaling 120 million euros.

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