Parliament"s special committee on tax rulings discusses tax measures with representatives from multinationals and various tax authorities on Monday 14 March and Tuesday 15 March. Participants include Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco and the Channel Islands as well as Apple, Google, IKEA and McDonald's. MEPs have the opportunity to question them, especially regarding the latest developments in the area of corporate taxation.
The participants are expected to explain their practices and share their views on the European Commission's Anti-Tax Avoidance Package as well as on an action plan by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to prevent companies from artificially shifting profits to low or no-tax locations where there is little or no economic activity. Also tax-related state aid verdicts and investigations by the Commission are likely to be discussed.
Although Apple, Google, IKEA and McDonald's agreed to explain their views in front of the committee, Fiat Chrysler and Starbucks declined, as did the Cayman Islands and the Isle of Man. It is not the first time that multinationals are invited to the Parliament. A tough debate took place last year in the previous special committee on tax rulings.
The Commission is investigating ambitious tax deals between large multinationals and member states. Latest developments include the following:
- In January 2016, the Commission ordered Belgium to recover an estimated €700 million in unpaid taxes from 35 multinationals. The companies have benefited from a tax ruling scheme dubbed "only in Belgium", which the Commission considers to be a form of illegal state aid.
- In October 2015 the Commission released two decisions stating that Luxembourg and the Netherlands have granted selective tax advantages to Fiat Finance and Trade and Starbucks, respectively. The Commission considers these illegal under EU state aid rules.
- The investigation into Ireland's tax treatment of Apple is ongoing. Last December the Commission opened an investigation into Luxembourg's tax deal with McDonald's.
- Tax inquiries are also hot topic in EU countries. For instance, Google and UK reached a settlement in January so that the tech giant will pay £130 million in retrospective taxes.
Follow the meetings live
The meeting with the Channel Islands - Jersey and Guernsey - is scheduled for Monday, starting at 15.00 CET. Representatives from Andorra, Liechtenstein and Monaco take the floor on Tuesday at 09.00 CET.
Tuesday afternoon is dedicated to the multinational corporations: the hearing starts at 15.00 CET.
Read more in our top story on corporate taxation.