‘Sausage stands’ pay more tax than Amazon, Starbucks & other intl. giants – Austrian chancellor

© Kim Kyung-Hoon
The amount being paid in taxes by international giants like Amazon and Starbucks which are present in Austria is smaller than that paid by a sausage strand or a small cafe, the country’s chancellor has claimed, stressing that it is totally unacceptable.

“Every Viennese cafe, every sausage stand pays more tax in Austria than a multinational corporation,” Chancellor Christian Kern said in an interview with newspaper Der Standard. “That goes for Starbucks, Amazon and other companies.”

He also criticized internet giants, like Facebook and Google which manage to swallow a massive part of the advertising market despite being ruled by a relatively small number of people. According to the chancellor, Google has a “good dozen” employees, while there are “allegedly even fewer” for Facebook.

“They massively suck up the advertising volume that comes out of the economy but pay neither corporation tax nor advertising duty in Austria,” said Kern adding their sales amount to more than €100 million ($112mn) each.

Meanwhile Google, Facebook and other multinational companies insist they have complied with all the tax rules.

Praising a recent European Commission’s ruling ordering Apple to pay up to €13 billion ($14.5bn) in taxes plus interest to Ireland, Kern denounced EU states with low corporate taxes. Such policies only weaken the EU’s economy, he claimed.

“What Ireland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg or Malta are doing here lacks solidarity towards the rest of the European economy,” he said.

READ MORE: Britain flutters eyelashes at Apple following European Commission tax ruling

On Tuesday, the European Commission ended its three-year investigation into Apple’s tax schemes concluding how the tech giant benefited from a sweetheart tax deal granted by the Irish government in breach of the European Union's state aid rules.
Describing the ruling as “total political crap,” Apple said it would file an appeal.

“It’s total political crap; they just picked a number from I don’t know where. In the year that the commission says we paid that tax figure, we actually paid $400 million,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook.