European Commission
The European Commission (Reuters)

The European Union's investigations into the low tax arrangements made between some member states and multinationals Apple, Starbucks and Amazon, are at an advanced stage, a senior European Commission official said on 11 June.

The investigations are focused on Luxembourg's tax rulings for online retailer Amazon and car manufacturer Fiat Chrysler, as well as coffee chain Starbuck's deal with the Netherlands and Apple's arrangements with Ireland. The issue being closed looked at is whether these companies are paying a fair share of taxes.

"The cases are advancing very well. I expect decisions to be taken in the not so distant future," Gert-Jan Koopman, deputy director general at the commission told a conference, according to Reuters.

European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said last month that she would not be able to meet a second quarter deadline as targeted and would not set another deadline for her decision on the investigations.

The commission is also investigating Belgium's tax arrangements for multinationals and on 11 June opened a formal anti-trust investigation into Amazon's e-book business.

Reuters said the global financial crisis and cash strapped governments have spurred the crackdown on tax avoidance and deals that help large multinationals to cut their tax bills to the minimum, giving them an unfair advantage, which is in breach of EU rules.