Taking The Taxman To Court


SHOP AROUND: M&S lost its Paris stores in 2001, but won the battle to pay less tax

As a business venture, the expansion into Continental Europe by British retailer Marks & Spencer, which accelerated in the mid-1990s, was an expensive failure. In 2001, the company shut down or sold its stores in Belgium, France and Germany after incurring losses of $186 million. But the ultimate cost, it now turns out, is likely to be far, far higher — not for the firm itself, but for the British Treasury and governments across the European Union. The reason: Marks & Spencer is on the verge of setting a precedent in European tax law, one that directly challenges national tax policies...

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