Approximately one week after Apple agreed to pay back $14 billion in back taxes to the EU, the next company on the list has received news of a pending investigation. This time it’s worldwide furniture giant IKEA.
Yes, European Commissioner Margrete Vestager, who’s in line to become the next EU President, wants to show to the world that the criticism that she only goes after US companies (Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Intel) is untrue. Just look at her latest target: Swedish retail giant IKEA.
According to Ms Vestager’s department, IKEA used a tax construction set up in the Netherlands to diminish their tax base for all of their European earnings through the usage of Dutch tax rules used for small and mid-sized companies.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Greens unpack <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/IKEA?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#IKEA</a> tax dodge scam. <a href="https://t.co/SKvoIiKqB1">https://t.co/SKvoIiKqB1</a> <a href="https://t.co/2eQ2DTYDro">pic.twitter.com/2eQ2DTYDro</a></p>— Molly Scott Cato MEP (@MollyMEP) <a href="https://twitter.com/MollyMEP/status/698268873175527424?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 12, 2016</a></blockquote>
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Ms Vestager said all European companies: "big or small, multinational or not, should pay their fair share of tax.”
"The Commission has concerns that two Dutch tax rulings may have given Inter Ikea Systems an unfair advantage compared to other companies."
The Dutch government has stated that it would cooperate with the European Commission to look into the matter.
When Apple was investigated in 2016 and later fined, the Irish governments was not too keen to ask for their money from the US tech group, fearing that a lot of jobs would be lost in the process. It remains to be seen how cooperative the Dutch government is to deal with IKEA as it employs several tens of thousands in the Netherlands.
Since the start of her tenure, Ms Vestager has launched investigations against Apple, Google, Uber, Facebook, and Amazon.