The European Commission opened on Monday several in-depth investigations to determine whether the advance rulings on “surplus profits” granted by Belgium to 39 multinational companies have given these companies “an unfair advantage over their competitors, in violation of EU state aid rules”.
“All companies must pay their fair share of taxes. We are concerned that the Belgian tax regime on ‘surplus profits’ has granted significant tax reductions to certain multinational companies that would not be available to other companies in a comparable situation,” commented Competition Policy Commissioner Margrethe Vestager.
These decisions to open an investigation follow the annulment by the EU Court in February 2019 of a Commission decision concluding that these advance decisions were part of an illegal Belgian aid scheme.
According to European law, the compatibility of the various advance rulings with EU rules must be assessed individually, which is why the Commission has now opened separate in-depth investigations for each of the advance rulings.
The opening of these investigations, which concern decisions issued between 2005 and 2014, gives Belgium and interested third parties the opportunity to submit their observations. It does not prejudge the outcome of the investigations.