The EU is turning its fire on Ireland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg

Posted on

The FT has reported tonight that:

Brussels is probing Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands over their tax deals with multinationals paving the way potentially for a formal investigation into illegal sweeteners.

Europe’s top competition authority has asked the governments to explain their system of tax rulings and give details of assurances given to several specific companies – including Apple and Starbucks – according to people who have seen the request.

The move threatens to open a new front in the global clampdown on tax evasion through enforcing the EU’s state aid rules – a unique regime that bans serious distortions of competition through tax breaks to favoured private groups.

If this is true - and the report implies good sources are available - this is excellent news because it goes right to the heart of the issue of tax abuse - which is that it is state sponsored by those states that have fallen prey to the influence of what Prem Sikka calls the pinstripe mafia of lawyers, accountants and bankers.