The French Council of State upholds the judgment of the Court of Appeal of Douai on unlawful State aid concerning a tax on publicity expenses allocated to finance the press sector (Atac)

Factual Background Atac is an undertaking selling advertising spaces inside free newspapers. The claimant requested the recovery of a tax imposed on certain commercial expenses as set out by Article 302 bis of the Tax code. At first instance, the administrative tribunal of Lille held that the relevant tax constituted State aid within the meaning of Article 87 EC. As the tax was not notified to the Commission pursuant to Article 88(3) EC, the tribunal ordered its recovery. The Minster of Economy and Finance lodged an appeal before the Administrative Court of Appeal of Douai against the judgment of the first instance tribunal. The Court dismissed the appeal. In the present case, the Minister appealed to the Conseil d'État (Council of State) to set aside the judgment of the Court of

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