Re: Didn't some German car companies get stung for billions a few years back?
"for incompetence in allowing what was clearly an illegal tax avoidance scam to go ahead in the first place."
a) It was put in place in the 80s (?) a long time before TC was around
b) It was affirmed subsequently by the Irish tax authorities >1
c) The EU does not have unified tax laws, despite some (not all) of the EU countries having the € as their national currency. This is a ticking bomb under the €, which was pointed out before € was created
d) The Irish Tax department has levied the taxes it thinks Apple owes, and Apple paid them.
e) The EU, has now decided that it has indeed the power to override the tax departments of member states, and levy taxes directly on corporations on behalf of member states based on the "no state aid" doctrine. It is unclear to me which EU tax law they will use to figure out how much is owing to the member state. I suspect it is some post-rationalisation.
Q: Were I Apple (Google, FB etc. etc) and operating in CountryX, which sovereign tax laws would I be following? (The hint is the word sovereign).
The EU is not a federation, there is no federal constitution nor is their likely to be one. Federal constitutions (like the US, Germany, Australia, WI etc.) have very specific characteristics, and the combination of the Treaty of Rome and all the subsequent documents through Maastrict, Amsterdam etc. (forget where we are up to) are in no way even close to such a thing. In fact, "Federalism" (even though it might be argued is the most logical path) has been avoided like the plague. Why? Because the member states have better democracies (and Constitutions) than the EU and none of them will (or in most cases CAN) hand over all the power to the EU Commission, a non-elected body.
But I digress.
Basically this is the EU commission trying to implement federal taxation power via the back door.