Amazon and Starbucks “Pay Less Tax Than a Sausage Stand”, Austria Says

Multinational companies including Amazon and Starbucks pay less tax in Austria than one of the country’s tiny sausage stands, the republic’s centre-left chancellor lamented in an interview published on Friday. Chancellor Christian Kern, head of the Social Democrats and of the centrist coalition government, also criticised internet giants Google and Facebook, saying that if they paid more tax subsidies for print media could increase. “Every Viennese cafe, every sausage stand pays more tax in Austria than a multinational corporation,” Kern was quoted as saying in an interview with newspaper Der Standard, invoking two potent symbols of the Austrian capital’s food culture. “That goes for Starbucks, Amazon and other companies,” he said, praising the European Commission’s ruling this week that Apple should pay up to €13bn ($14.5bn) in taxes plus interest to Ireland because a special scheme to route profits through that country was illegal state aid. Apple has said it will appeal against the ruling, which CEO Tim Cook described as “total political crap”. Google, Facebook and other multinational companies say they follow all tax rules.

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