The European Union executive on Wednesday said Italian car giant Fiat's financial unit and US coffee chain Starbucks must each repay up to 30 million euros in back taxes, ruling that deals they negotiated with two European governments amounted to illegal state aid.
The European Commission ordered Luxembourg and the Netherlands to collect between 20 million and 30 million euros in unpaid taxes from Fiat Chrysler Finance Europe and Starbucks respectively. The individual tax authorities must now determine the sums to be repaid, it said.
"Tax rulings that artificially reduce a company's tax burden are not in line with EU state aid rules,” Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said in a statement.
“They are illegal. I hope that, with today's decisions, this message will be heard by member state governments and companies alike. All companies, big or small, multinational or not, should pay their fair share of tax."
The move is part of a Brussels crackdown on private tax deals some member states strike with large multinationals. Commission officials are looking at similar deals secured by Amazon in Luxembourg and Apple in Ireland.
In a statement, Fiat denied it had received any state aid and said the EU Commission finding would not affect the group's reported results.
Both the Dutch and Luxembourg governments rejected the rulings but did not immediately say if they would appeal against them to the European courts.
The ruling follows an investigation begun in June last year as part of a series of probes announced in the wake of the so-called LuxLeaks scandal, which revealed that some of the world’s biggest companies had negotiated lower tax rates in secret 'sweetheart' pacts with Luxembourg.