EU Probes Tax Affairs of Apple, Starbucks -- Update

By Dow Jones Business News, 
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By Tom Fairless

BRUSSELS--European Union regulators said Wednesday they have opened formal investigations into the tax affairs of Apple Inc., Starbucks Corp. and a Luxembourg-based division of Fiat SpA, amid concerns that multinational companies enjoy sweeter tax deals than are permitted under EU law.

The probe by the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, will center on generous tax arrangements granted to those global corporations in three EU countries--Apple in Ireland, Fiat Finance and Trade in Luxembourg and Starbucks in the Netherlands. The commission worries that the companies' tax deals may amount to illegal state aid.

The probes will focus on so-called transfer-pricing arrangements, which can help minimize a company's tax bill.

"In the current context of tight public budgets, it is particularly important that large multinationals pay their fair share of taxes," EU antitrust chief Joaquín Almunia said in a statement.

Write to Tom Fairless at tom.fairless@wsj.com

Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires


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This article appears in: Commodities

Referenced Stocks: AAPL , FIAT , FIATY , SBUX

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