EU orders Luxembourg to hand over corporate tax practices information

BRUSSELS, March 24 Mon Mar 24, 2014 6:47am EDT

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BRUSSELS, March 24 (Reuters) - European Union antitrust regulators ordered Luxembourg on Monday to hand over information on its corporate tax practices as part of their investigation into tax loopholes which have allowed companies such as Starbucks and Apple to cut their tax bills.

The move by the European Commission came after Luxembourg failed to provide data on its tax rulings in 2011 and 2012, and also details about the 100 largest companies which came under its intellectual property tax regime.

"As Luxembourg failed to adequately answer previous requests for information, the Commission has now adopted two information injunctions ordering Luxembourg to deliver the requested information within one month," the EU executive said.

"Should Luxembourg persist in its refusal, the Commission may refer the issue to the EU Court of Justice," it said. The Commission said it had asked other EU countries for similar information but did not provide details.

Last month European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said he was examining corporate tax loopholes across Europe to see if they are anti-competitive.

There have been growing criticism of schemes used by Starbucks, Apple, Amazon and others operating within the law to minimise their taxes by shifting their profits into tax havens. (Reporting by Foo Yun Chee, Editing by Martin Santa)

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