In a decision on October 4, 2017, the European Commission held that Luxembourg had provided Amazon with approximately EUR 250 million in illegal tax benefits. Following an in-depth investigation that began in October 2014, the European Commission found that a tax ruling issued by Luxembourg in 2003 and extended in 2011 had reduced Amazon’s tax in the country without any valid justification. The European Commission said that the ruling represented a selective tax benefit and unlawful state aid incompatible with the single EU market under Article 107 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, Head of Competition Policy said: "Luxembourg gave illegal tax benefits to Amazon. As a result, almost three quarters of Amazon's profits were not taxed. In other words, Amazon was allowed to pay four times less tax than other local companies subject to the same national tax rules."

The tax ruling had permitted Amazon to transfer most of its profits from an Amazon group company taxed in Luxembourg (Amazon EU) to a company not taxed in the country (Amazon Europe Holding Technologies). Amazon EU had, thus, transferred licence payments to Amazon Europe Holding Technologies, resulting in a significant decrease in Amazon EU’s taxable revenue. The Commission’s investigation showed that the licence fees approved in the tax ruling were too high and did not reflect the economic reality.

For more information, please see the European Commission’s detailed press release:  

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