EU Plans to 'Conclude Shortly' Probes Into Apple, Amazon Tax

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The European Union said it's still seeking to make rapid progress in its tax investigations into four companies, including Apple and Amazon.com even after saying it will miss a self-imposed mid-year deadline.

EU antitrust commissioner Margrethe Vestager said she "will be seeking to conclude shortly" the probes, according to her foreword to the EU's annual report on competition enforcement published on Thursday.

Ms. Vestager said last month that regulators will fail to complete tax probes into Apple, Amazon and also Starbucks Corp. and Fiat Finance & Trade by the middle of this year. The former Danish economy minister inherited the cases when she took over the EU role at the start of November. All the companies have said that they acted within the law.

Apple raised a flag in April about the potential cost if the company is required to pay past taxes to Ireland as part of the European Commission investigation. While Apple hasn't been able to estimate the amount, it could be "material," the company said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Ms. Vestager also said the EU is examining the use of tax rulings across the entire 28-state bloc.

"On this basis, the commission will assess the situation in every one of them to ensure that no individual companies get a selective advantage from paying unfair levels of tax," she said.

--Bloomberg News

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