REPORT: Amazon is about to be fined millions of euros in back taxes by the EU

EU Commissoner Margrethe VestagerVimeo/Markus BöhnischEU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager.

Amazon is the latest tech giant about to be slapped with a massive fine.

The European Commission is preparing to bill the company for back taxes in Luxembourg, where Amazon has set up a complex structure to pay minimal tax on its European operations, The Financial Times first reported.

The bill could total several hundred million euros and will reportedly be announced on Wednesday.

The investigation has focused on whether Luxembourg broke EU state aid rules by allowing Amazon’s tax-minimising setup. The commission alleged that Amazon shielded its profits from regional taxes by paying royalties inside its own group of companies.

Apple was ordered to pay the EU an eye-watering €13 billion (£11.1 billion; $US14.5 billion) in back taxes last year, after a similar investigation. The setup is common for tech conglomerates — Uber has a similar setup in the Netherlands — but after the EU probe was launched, Amazon began booking revenue through its local operations in 2015.

The Amazon investigation has been running for almost three years and the outcome overdue. Reuters reported last autumn that the Commission was nearing the end of its investigation but an EC spokesman told Business Insider a month ago the probe was still ongoing.

Amazon and Luxembourg have previously denied wrongdoing.

The commission has taken a stern approach to multinationals avoiding tax, and to tech giants in general. Earlier this year, EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager fined Google a record-breaking €2.4 billion (£2.1 billion, $US2.7 billion) for promoting its own shopping service over rivals’.

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