EU court: Dutch tax deal with Starbucks is legal

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — A European Union court overturned Tuesday a ruling by the European Commission that a tax deal between the Dutch government and Starbucks amounted to illegal state support for the coffee giant.

Dutch authorities had clawed back 25.7 million euros ($28 million) from the multinational following the 2015 ruling by the EU’s executive.

The court’s findings in appeals by the Dutch state and Starbucks against the 2015 ruling could have implications for EU efforts to crack down on favourable tax deals offered by some member states to multinational companies.

In its decision on the appeals, the General Court of the European Union said the commission “was unable to demonstrate the existence of an advantage in favour of Starbucks.”

Dutch State Secretary for Finances Menno Snel welcomed the ruling.

“This judgment means that the tax service did not treat Starbucks better or differently from other companies,” Snel said in a written statement.

There was no immediate reaction from the European Union or Starbucks.

The Commission can appeal against Tuesday’s judgment.

Mike Corder, The Associated Press