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EU Opens Separate Investigations To Assess Tax Rulings Granted By Belgium

The European Commission, based on the General Court's guidance, has decided to open separate in-depth State aid investigations to assess the tax rulings granted by Belgium between 2005 and 2014 to 39 multinational companies.

In 2016, following an in-depth investigation, the Commission ordered Belgium to recover the aid granted to the companies. In February 2019, the General Court annulled the Commission's decision. The European Commission said, according to the General Court, the compatibility of the tax rulings with EU State aid rules needs to be assessed individually, which is why the Commission has now opened separate in-depth investigations.

The Commission's preliminary view is that by discounting "excess profit" from the beneficiaries' tax base, the tax rulings selectively misapplied the Belgian income tax code. The tax rulings may have given a selective advantage to the 39 multinational companies, the Commission stated.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said: "We also await further clarity from the European Court of Justice on the existence of an aid scheme."

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