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EU probes Belgian tax deals with multinationals

BRUSSELS — The European Commission is investigating tax schemes that Belgium has set up with 39 multinational companies.The commission said Monday the investigations aim to assess whether Belgian rulings issued between 2005 and 2014 gave an unfair advantage to the companies by allowing them to pay less tax. The companies include brewing giant Anheuser-Busch Inbev and British American Tobacco.EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager said: “We are concerned that the Belgian ‘excess profit’ tax system granted substantial tax reductions only to certain multinational companies that would not be available to companies in a comparable situation.”Earlier, the European Court of Justice had found the commission had not proved the existence of an illegal scheme by Belgium, so the commission is opening separate probes as a new way to tackle the issue.The Associated Press