Many multinational companies pay less tax in Austria than the local tiny sausage stands, Christian Kern, the Chancellor of Austria and chairman of the Social Democratic Party of the country said. He cited examples of coffee chain Starbucks and online retailer Amazon.
"Every Viennese cafe, every sausage stand pays more tax in Austria than a multinational corporation ... That goes for Starbucks, Amazon and other companies," Kern was quoted as saying by Der Standard, an Austrian national daily.
Kern also criticised search giant Google and social media company Facebook for paying less or no taxes in Austria. He estimated that Google had an annual turnover of €200m (£167.82m) in Austria while Facebook made between €100m and €120m. He said these revenues were earned with a relatively small number of employees – a "good dozen" for Google and "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," the Chancellor criticised.
These comments follow Apple being ordered recently by EU regulators to pay Ireland €13bn in taxes. While this is the largest ever tax penalty handed out by the EU, regulators explained that earlier tax arrangements between Ireland and the US technology firm broke European rules on state aid, as they allowed Apple to pay less tax than rival firms.
While many including Apple has criticised the penalty decision, the US firm has said that it was confident that this penalty will be overturned. However, Kern praised this ruling by the European Commission.
Kern went onto criticise EU states that lured multinationals by offering low-tax structures. "What Ireland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg or Malta are doing here lacks solidarity towards the rest of the European economy," he added.