By Vanessa Houlder in London and Christian Oliver in Brussels
How ironic that the US Treasury is now worried about tax investigations into Apple, Starbucks and Amazon.
Robert Stack, a deputy assistant secretary, said the US was concerned that “any retroactive tax would be borne by US taxpayers in the form of a credit”, adding that “a purely prospective remedy would alleviate these concerns”.
The Commission’s competition arm is expected to issue decisions shortly on cases involving Amazon and Fiat in Luxembourg, Apple in Ireland and Starbucks in the Netherlands. If it rules that governments gave companies favourable treatment, it has the power to force governments to claw back 10 years of unpaid taxes, potentially hitting companies with bills running into billions of euros.
The US also fears that the Brussels investigations will end up diminishing the role of its bilateral tax treaties with EU member states. It does not want the commission to override member states in deciding companies’ tax bills, as it has no treaty with Brussels that would allow it to challenge its conclusions.
Hey Robert Stack, how about a tax credit for each country’s expenditure to implement FATCA? That would keep you off the backs of the rest of the world for your insane 30% sanction at least for a while. Look who’s crying now. No Treaty with Brussels, too bad………..
Amazon.ca never charges me HST for Kindle books. When is Harper going to stop kissing the butts of the Americans and crack down on these tax cheats?
Amazon.co.jp charges prices that have Japanese consumption tax built in. (The rate is harmonized at 8% across all prefectures = provinces; I don’t know how it gets divided up.)
Amazon.com doesn’t charge Japanese consumption tax. On physical goods that come in by mail, at random the Japanese post office might collect the consumption tax (plus additional fee for collecting the fee) or might not. On virtual goods that come in by download, the Japanese government doesn’t collect any tax. Japanese companies are trying to pressure the government to collect tax on downloads to help level the playing field.
Amazon.ca didn’t charge Japanese consumption tax on a book that I bought from an Amazon Marketplace vendor. The vendor mailed it from the US instead of from Canada (which makes me wonder why the vendor didn’t offer it on the Amazon US marketplace). The Japanese post office would be entitled to collect consumption tax (plus extra fee) but didn’t.
Some one needs to explain to Mr. Stack that these investigations are just a myth. Not to worry.
Mr Stack now realises that a US-EU tax treaty is really a myth.
I hope the EU takes this trio for everything they owe and other US companies.
Amazon is cheating in Canada. A Canadian business would have to pay the HST. Why does Amazon get away with it? The playing field is not level, Indigo/Chapters charges the tax on their downloads. So I do hope that Amazon gets hit with a huge fine and back taxes for doing retail business in Canada against Canadian tax laws.
No irony here at all. Stack is bought and paid for by the banks and large companies. And that’s where he will return to work after his gig with Treasury is up.
As Leona Helmsley said, only the little people pay taxes (and have to deal with FATCA).
@Petros, Amazon.ca just charged me HST for a purchase on my daughter’s behalf.
The US loves to intimidate foreign companies with heavy legal action.
But it hates it when the EU enforces EU rules in Europe.
Trish, there are plenty of US and Canadian companies trying to play the “how can I avoid paying taxes” game. There is Bombardier, Skype, eBay and Telekom Italia amongst others. It is known that KPMG, PWC and other large accounting firms made a deal with the Luxembourg Government so that large corporations can benefit from lower taxes. Amazon only paid 1% tax on European income. Right now the EU commission is investigating Starbucks deal with the Dutch Government. Treasury has plenty to fear about. You can also look at Luxleaks to see which companies did what. Not too long ago, UK residents were able to buy stuff from Amazon Channel Islands without having to pay the hefty VAT. I believe that loophole has now been closed.
I just wonder if America did the math- would they have ever launched FATCA? Don`t they know they are the biggest tax haven of them all? Did they think they would always be able to exempt themselves when this idea goes global?
Maybe they`ll just pull out those big guns again and threaten anybody who wants money from them? That seems to be working….
As we keep saying – THE EMPEROR HAS NO CLOTHES!
I never dreamt that I would have such thoughts but given the awful shifts taking place in this world of ours, it seems to me that ALL these big US companies doing business globally … Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Wall Street Mafia et al …. ALL need to be assessed income tax (as well as sales taxes and import duties and fees) by every country on earth on the portion of their earnings earned thorough sales to consumers in those countries or on consulting fees, financing fees and so on charged to those countries or their residents. In short … Yow …. Taxfolk worldwide … follow the money …. hint …. it is going stateside. Go tax dem cheats.
As was tweeted earlier ……
Seems a perceptive lad doesn’t he, that Mr Turner: http://www.albertaoilmagazine.com/2013/12/john-turner-nafta/
After all …. Congress has spoken !
BTW … my post above applies equally to App vendors for smart phones and so on. ALL these folk need to be paying sales and income taxe4s around the world where their income is derived from.
Re: As Leona Helmsley said, “only the little people pay taxes”.
She left US$12million to her dog – wonder when the IRS will expect little dogs living in “foreign” lands to file and pay US estate taxes? And where will they send the criminal investigation letter?
Apologies for being frivolous, but I am not a happy camper these days…..
Amazon.ca does not charge HST for downloading Kindle book. They have to charge it for physical books, in order to more easily clear customs.
Is that an AMERICAN dog?
Polly, or rather does it have an unambiguous place of birth in the USA or an ambiguous place of birth.
Petros. I am glad to see you posting again. There seemed a void when you were not posting.
“I just wonder if America did the math- would they have ever launched FATCA?”
Yes, they do it for the penalties, not for taxes.
“Don`t they know they are the biggest tax haven of them all?”
Yes they know it, and they’re going to keep it that way.
“Did they think they would always be able to exempt themselves when this idea goes global?”
Yes. You know how? Yes you do know how…
“Maybe they`ll just pull out those big guns again”
“And where will they send the criminal investigation letter?”
To an address so badly scrambled that it won’t be deliverable, and with a return address ending in the international standard abbreviation for Panama (PA) so the destination country’s post office will return the undeliverable letter to Panama.
“Apologies for being frivolous”
No, it’s only frivolous if you write an honest declaration on a tax form or tell the truth in court.
Is a tide turning?
How about the data International banks will be transmitting to the IRS. How safe is from a third party search such as IS
Interesting article. But I am sure they will simply renegotiate some sort of new transatlantic pact. Everybody in the world thinks of ISIS as the enemy. Nobody thinks of US spies as any real threat. The mentality goes into the realms of a “we are in this game to prosper together” and so they all see themselves as allies, basically.
We shall see Polly. This case of Schrems was one of fundamental right to privacy. This is beyond the realm of the Bureaucrats and in the realm of constitutional law. Just like our Canadian case. Now can the Schrems decision be applied to FATCA and CRS ? I certainly hope so. Any EU Lawyer types out there ?