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Apple, Google & others to face European Parliament hearing on tax deals

Apple, Google, IKEA, and McDonald's will together face a European Parliament hearing on Wednesday, called amid European Commission investigations into whether such multinationals were given preferential tax deals by some nations.




The Parliament's tax committee won't have the authority to order any changes at the hearing, according to Reuters. Starbucks and Fiat Chrysler have in fact declined to appear, each citing the fact that they're appealing earlier Commission rulings ordering them to pay back taxes. Those rulings enjoined the Netherlands and Luxembourg to collect the money, respectively.

All of the companies presenting on Wednesday have insisted that they follow European tax laws. Apple, accused of benefiting from Irish tax breaks, has been especially vocal — CFO Luca Maestri recently claimed that a "fair outcome" of the investigation would mean "zero" owed in back taxes.

Under European Union regulations, extending tax breaks to one company but not others is considered illegal state aid. Some governments may have been willing to break the rules, however, to attract more jobs and revenue, particular given the tough economic climate Europe has weathered in the past several years.

Apple is still awaiting a Commission ruling, which has been delayed multiple times. In January Apple CEO Tim Cook met with the Commission's competition head, Margrethe Vestager, presumably in an attempt to influence her organization's decision.