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European Commission and Luxembourg Responses to General Court State Aid Judgments — Orbitax Tax News & Alerts

The European Commission and the Luxembourg government have issued releases responding to the 12 May judgments of the EU General Court annulling the Commission's State aid decision on Amazon and upholding the Commission's State aid decision on Engie.


Statement by Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager following today's Court judgments on the Amazon and Engie tax State aid cases in Luxembourg

"All companies should pay their fair share of tax. Tax advantages given only to selected multinational companies harm fair competition in the EU. They also deprive the public purse and European citizens of funds for much needed investments to recover from the coronavirus crisis and seize the twin transitions.

Today, the General Court has delivered two judgments. It has confirmed the Commission's June 2018 decision that Luxembourg granted illegal State aid to Engie through selective tax breaks, but it annulled the Commission's October 2017 decision that Luxembourg granted illegal State aid to Amazon.

Both judgments confirm once more a key principle: while Member States have exclusive competence to determine their taxation laws, they must do so in respect of EU law, including State aid rules.

As regards Engie in Luxembourg, the General Court has confirmed the Commission's decision that a set of tax rulings issued by Luxembourg artificially reduced Engie's tax bill by around €120 million. The tax rulings endorsed two financing structures put in place by Engie that treated the same transaction both as debt and as equity, with the result that its profits remained untaxed. The General Court has also confirmed that State aid enforcement can be a tool to tackle abusive tax planning structures that deviate from the objectives of the general tax system.

As regards Amazon in Luxembourg, the Commission's decision concerned a tax ruling issued by Luxembourg to Amazon, by virtue of which three quarters of the profits made from all Amazon sales in the EU went untaxed until 2014. We will carefully study the judgment and reflect on possible next steps.

The Commission is using all tools at its disposal to fight unfair tax practices. State aid enforcement works hand in hand with the EU's legislative action to address loopholes and ensure transparency in fiscal matters. We are close to achieving a historic global agreement on the reform of the international corporate tax framework. Moreover, the Commission is in the process of putting forward a proposal for a digital levy, so that companies benefiting from the digital Single Market fairly contribute to the EU budget. We need to seize the momentum to progress towards fair taxation at all levels."


Press release on October 2017 Commission's decision finding that Luxembourg granted illegal State aid worth around €250 million to Amazon.

Press release on June 2018 Commission's decision finding that Luxembourg granted illegal State aid worth €120 million to Engie.


Luxembourg's position following the judgments of the General Court of the European Union in the Amazon EU SARL and ENGIE Global LNG Holding SARL cases

Luxembourg welcomes the judgment of the General Court of the European Union in the Amazon EU SARL case, which confirms that the tax treatment of the taxpayer in question under the tax rules applicable at the time does not constitute State aid.

With regard to the ENGIE Global LNG Holding SARL case, Luxembourg takes note of the judgment of the General Court of the European Union. Luxembourg will examine the judgment with all due diligence and reserves all its rights.

The judgments do not call into question Luxembourg's commitment to transparency in tax matters and the fight against tax avoidance practices. Luxembourg recalls that it has implemented numerous reforms in recent years to combat tax evasion and fraud, including the transposition of the ATAD I and II directives establishing rules against tax avoidance practices within the internal market.

Luxembourg will continue to participate actively and constructively in the ongoing discussions on international corporate tax reform, with the aim to ensure a level playing field.