EU skeptical of Starbucks tax breaks in Netherlands

The European Commission has reasonable doubts about the tax deal between US coffee chain Starbucks and the Dutch tax authorities. The commission wants to make its concerns known this week.

European Commissioner Margrethe Vestager yesterday announced the step without mentioning the matter by name. Due to the controversial deal Starbucks enjoys tax benefits which may conflict with European rules.

Earlier the European Commission criticized tax deals between Ireland and technology giant Apple and between Luxembourg and car manufacturer Fiat. There is a second ongoing investigation against Luxembourg for possible illegal state aid to online store Amazon.

The announcement follows new revelations about numerous Luxembourg tax structures that were created when Jean-Claude Juncker was Prime Minister of the country. He is now President of the European Union.

Brussels has been intensively examining the Dutch tax deal with Starbucks since June. The Commission emphasizes that it does not doubt the overall tax system, but the talks of selective tax. It can not be allowed that member states allow companies to pay less tax than they would if the tax rules are fairly applied, says the Commission.

At that time State Secretary Eric Wiebes said that he is not worried about the outcome of the investigation. According to the minister, the agreement with Starbucks meets the directive of the OECD, the international Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.