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EU Court To Decide If Amazon Owes $277M In Taxes

 |  March 8, 2020

Amazon and the European Commission wrapped up two days of hearings before the European Union’s second-highest court on Friday, March 6, in a tax case worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

“The purpose of transfer pricing is to try to treat the transaction as though they are independent parties,” Amazon lawyer Aleksander Tombiński said during questions from the five-judge panel of the European General Court.

Tombiński, of the international law firm Clifford Chance, was referring to a practice in which companies transfer intellectual property between subsidiaries. Under EU regulations, Amazon should have charged itself a fair market price, or what it would have charged a separate company.

The case dates back to a 2003 tax arrangement that, according to the European Commission, allowed Amazon to dramatically reduce its tax liability in Luxembourg. In 2017, after three years of investigation, the EU’s cabinet body reached the conclusion that Luxembourg gave Amazon a sweetheart tax deal in an arrangement called Project Goldcrest, named after the country’s national bird.

The hearing kicked off Thursday, with the Commission’s lawyer Paul-John Loewenthal objecting to filings made by Luxembourg. He claimed the country changed its legal arguments after seeing Amazon’s submissions.

Most of Friday’s session was taken up by both sides addressing the Commission’s multiple sets of arguments over Amazon’s subsidiaries.

“All of these arguments have been put forward to us,” Loewenthal said in defending the Commission’s choice to provide second, third, and fourth arguments in support of its case.

Full Content: Court House News

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