Tax rulings

State Aid

The EU General Court annuls a State aid decision of the Commission concerning the food production sector in Romania (Micula)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 18 June 2019, the General Court of the European Union (the “General Court”) handed down its long-awaited judgment in the Micula case (Cases T-624/15, T-694/15 and T-704/15, European Food and Others v Commission, EU:T:2019:423). The case finds its origins in the investment made by the Miculas, (...)

The EU General Court holds that the Commission was wrong to classify as State aid a progressive tax on the retail sector involving a high starting threshold (Polish tax on the retail sector)
Simmons & Simmons (Amsterdam)
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Simmons & Simmons (Brussels)
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Simmons & Simmons (London)
The EU’s General Court has rejected the EU Commission’s classification of a Polish tax on the retail sector as State aid: Poland v Commission (Joined Cases T-836/16 and T-624/17). The fact that the tax was progressive in nature with a high threshold was not sufficient to meet the requirement that (...)

The EU General Court overturns the Commission’s finding that Belgium granted unlawful State aid through advance tax rulings (Magnetrol International)
College of Europe (Bruges)
* Article published on StateAidHub: http://stateaidhub.eu, republished in e-Competitions with the courtesy of the author. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Authors are welcome to write an alternative article on this case/text, provided they have no (...)

The EU General Court annuls the Commission decision which classified Belgium’s "excess profit" tax scheme as State aid (Magnetrol International)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 14 February 2019, the General Court (“GC”) issued a judgment annulling the decision of the European Commission (the “Commission”) concerning the Belgian “excess profit” tax rulings (Joined Cases T-131/16 and T-263/16, Belgium and Magnetrol International v. Commission). Under Belgian law, Belgian (...)

The EU General Court annuls the Commission’s State aid decision regarding excess Belgium profits tax ruling system (Magnetrol International)
Simmons & Simmons (Brussels)
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Simmons & Simmons (Brussels)
In a Decision of 11 January 2016, the European Commission declared the Belgian excess profit scheme, pursuant to which Belgium granted advance tax rulings authorising Belgian entities which were part of multinational groups to exempt part of their profits from corporate income taxation, (...)

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation into the tax treatment of an American multinational company in the Netherlands (Nike)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission opens in-depth investigation into tax treatment of Nike in the Netherlands* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to examine whether tax rulings granted by the Netherlands to Nike may have given the company an unfair advantage over its competitors, (...)

The EU Commission finds that Gibraltar’s tax rulings favouring multinational companies are illegal under EU State aid rules (Gibraltar’s tax rulings)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission concludes Gibraltar gave around €100 million of illegal tax advantages to multinational companies* The European Commission has found that Gibraltar’s corporate tax exemption regime for interest and royalties, as well as five tax rulings, are illegal under EU State aid (...)

The EU Commission holds that Luxembourg did not grant illegal State aid to a fast-food company as a consequence of the exemption of income attributed to a US branch (McDonald’s)
Stockholm University
Fiscal State Aid and Tax Treaty Law: the puzzling decision in the McDonald’s Case* On 17 December 2018 the European Commission issued the public version of its decision in the McDonald’s case (SA.38945). The Commission found, contrary to its initial conclusion in the opening decision, that (...)

The EU Commission finds that the non-taxation of certain profits of a fast-food company in Luxembourg is in line with the EU State aid rules (McDonald’s)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission investigation did not find that Luxembourg gave selective tax treatment to McDonald’s* The Commission has found that the non-taxation of certain McDonald’s profits in Luxembourg did not lead to illegal State aid, as it is in line with national tax laws and the (...)

The EU General Court denies video-on-demand distributors’ standing to appeal a Commission decision authorising a German cinema aid scheme (Netflix / Apple)
McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Paris)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
All State Aid decisions taken by the EC can be subject to an action for annulment. In practice, however, it has been very difficult for complainants to successfully bring admissible actions for annulment of EC decisions approving aid because of EU courts’ strict interpretation of the locus (...)

The EU Commission demands that Luxembourg recovers around €120 million corresponding to illegal tax benefits granted to an energy provider (Engie)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission finds Luxembourg gave illegal tax benefits to Engie; has to recover around €120 million* The European Commission has found that Luxembourg allowed two Engie group companies to avoid paying taxes on almost all their profits for about a decade. This is illegal under EU State (...)

The EU Commission finds that an Irish tax exemption aimed at changing consumer behaviour in relation to harmful sweetened drinks is not State aid (Irish tax on sugar sweetened drinks)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Article published on StateAidHub: http://stateaidhub.eu, republished in e-Competitions with the courtesy of the author. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Authors are welcome to write an alternative article on this case/text, provided they have no (...)

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation into statutory rules that exempt a certain type of financing income earned by foreign subsidiaries (United Kingdom)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (London)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
On 26 October 2017, the European Commission (the Commission) opened an in-depth investigation into UK statutory rules that exempt certain financing income earned by foreign subsidiaries of UK corporate taxpayers from UK tax. The Commission’s investigation will focus on whether the UK Controlled (...)

The EU Commission refers Ireland before the Court of justice for failure to recover illegal tax benefits from an American multinational technology company (Apple)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission refers Ireland to Court for failure to recover illegal tax benefits from Apple worth up to €13 billion* The European Commission has decided to refer Ireland to the European Court of Justice for failing to recover from Apple illegal State aid worth up to €13 billion, as (...)

The EU Commission concludes that Luxembourg has granted undue tax benefits to an e-commerce company (Amazon)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission finds Luxembourg gave illegal tax benefits to Amazon worth around €250 million* The European Commission has concluded that Luxembourg granted undue tax benefits to Amazon of around €250 million. This is illegal under EU State aid rules because it allowed Amazon to pay (...)

The EU Commission orders Luxembourg to recover illegal tax benefits worth €250 million (Amazon)
Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
The European Commission has found that Luxembourg granted undue tax benefits to Amazon worth around €250 million. These benefits allowed Amazon to pay four times less taxes than other companies Luxembourg is now required to recover the amount that Amazon should have paid. This decision follows (...)

The EU Court of Justice upholds an appeal by the Commission concerning the selectivity of a Spanish tax measure (World Duty Free Group)
College of Europe (Bruges)
* Article published on StateAidHub: http://stateaidhub.eu, republished in e-Competitions with the courtesy of the author. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Authors are welcome to write an alternative article on this case/text, provided they have no (...)

The EU Court of Justice rejects an appeal concerning a Spanish aid measure in favour of a public broadcaster, finding that the amount of aid granted did not depend solely on the amount of tax paid by the appellants (DTS)
College of Europe (Bruges)
* Article published on StateAidHub: http://stateaidhub.eu, republished in e-Competitions with the courtesy of the author. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Authors are welcome to write an alternative article on this case/text, provided they have no (...)

The EU Commission finds that a Hungarian progressive tax on publishers of adverts is unlawful State aid which must be recovered (Hungarian advertisement tax)
College of Europe (Bruges)
* Article published on StateAidHub: http://stateaidhub.eu, republished in e-Competitions with the courtesy of the author. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Authors are welcome to write an alternative article on this case/text, provided they have no (...)

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation concerning undue tax benefits potentially granted by Luxembourg to an energy provider (Engie)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission opens in-depth investigation into Luxembourg’s tax treatment of GDF Suez (now Engie)* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation into Luxembourg’s tax treatment of the GDF Suez group (now Engie). The Commission has concerns that several tax rulings issued (...)

The EU Commission publishes its largest-ever negative State aid decision regarding tax arrangements, requiring Ireland to recover €13bn of aid (Apple)
Oxera (Oxford)
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Oxera (Brussels)
I. Introduction 1. On 30 August 2016, the European Commission announced its largest-ever negative State aid decision requiring Ireland to recover €13bn of aid (plus interest) from Apple as a result of its tax rulings with Ireland . In the year leading up to this announcement, the Commission (...)

The EU Commission concludes Ireland granted undue tax benefits to a multinational technology company (Apple)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Ireland gave illegal tax benefits to Apple worth up to €13 billion* The European Commission has concluded that Ireland granted undue tax benefits of up to €13 billion to Apple. This is illegal under EU state aid rules, because it allowed Apple to pay substantially less tax than other (...)

The EU Commission declares Irish tax rulings favouring an undertaking to be contrary to State aid provisions (Apple)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 30 August 2016, the European Commission announced its decision finding that Ireland has granted selective tax advantages to Apple. According to the press release of the Commission, the two tax rulings at stake issued by Ireland to Apple substantially and artificially lowered the tax paid by (...)

The EU Commission finds that Ireland granted undue tax benefits to a U.S. leading multinational technology company (Apple)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Ireland gave illegal tax benefits to Apple worth up to €13 billion* The European Commission has concluded that Ireland granted undue tax benefits of up to €13 billion to Apple. This is illegal under EU state aid rules, because it allowed Apple to pay substantially less tax than other (...)

The EU Commission refers Ireland to the Court of Justice of the EU for failing to recover illegal tax benefits (Apple)
Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
The European Commission has referred Ireland to the Court of Justice of the EU for failing to comply with its Decision of 30 August 2016. In the said decision, the Commission established that Ireland had granted certain tax benefits to Apple allowing the la er to pay substantially less tax (...)

The EU Commission confirms that Ireland granted illegal State aid to a company (Apple)
Simmons & Simmons (Luxembourg)
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Simmons & Simmons (Luxembourg)
On 30 August 2016, the EU commission confirmed that in their view, Ireland granted illegal State Aid to Apple. Such State Aid is allegedly granted in the form of a selective tax treatment. The decision is the latest in the EU Commission’s moves to use State Aid principles in a direct tax (...)

The EU Commission finds that a Belgian alternative tax scheme for the diamond sector does not constitute State aid (Belgian wholesale diamond sector)
College of Europe (Bruges)
* Article published on StateAidHub: http://stateaidhub.eu, republished in e-Competitions with the courtesy of the author. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Authors are welcome to write an alternative article on this case/text, provided they have no (...)

The EU Commission publishes Working Paper on State aid and tax rulings
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 3 June 2016, the European Commission published a working paper on state aid and tax rulings (the “Working Paper”). The Working Paper brings together relevant findings of the Commission in the politically sensitive area of state aid and corporate taxation. In particular, the Working Paper (...)

The EU General Court annuls the Commission’s decision declaring the Spanish tax lease system to constitute illegal State aid (Spanish Tax Lease)
Linklaters (Madrid)
1. Introduction On July 2011 the Commission launched an investigation into a Spanish scheme for the purchase of ships involving leasing and financing through tax relief. The complex scheme granted company income tax discounts to investors that invested in an Economic Interest Grouping (“EIG”) (...)

The EU General Court annuls Commission’s decision finding Spain’s tax lease system to constitute illegal State aid (Spanish Tax Lease)
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
The Spanish tax lease case: Identifying the beneficiary under the selectivity test in Fiscal aid schemes*In its judgment of 17 December 2015, Spain a.o./Commission the General Court once again annulled a Commission decision dealing with a fiscal State aid scheme on the grounds that the (...)

The EU Commission opens a formal investigation concerning undue tax benefits potentially granted by Luxembourg to a fast food restaurant chain (McDonald’s)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission opens formal investigation into Luxembourg’s tax treatment of McDonald’s* The Commission has opened a formal probe into Luxembourg’s tax treatment of McDonald’s. Its preliminary view is that a tax ruling granted by Luxembourg may have granted McDonald’s an advantageous tax (...)

The EU Commission orders claw back in the first decisions to emerge in its crackdown on corporate tax avoidance (Fiat / Starbucks)
Simmons & Simmons (Brussels)
On 21 October 2015, the European Commission adopted its first two decisions on the compatibility of tax rulings with EU State aid rules. The first case related to a Dutch tax ruling granted to Starbucks. The second case involved Fiat’s finance company, based in Luxembourg. In both cases, the (...)

The EU Commission publishes decision on Luxembourg’s tax ruling (Fiat)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 9 June 2016, the Commission published the non-confidential version of its decision in its state aid investigation into Fiat’s tax arrangements in Luxembourg. As reported previously, the Commission press release issued in October 2015 explained that Luxembourg had breached EU state aid rules (...)

The EU Commission concludes that Luxembourg and the Netherlands granted illegal tax advantages to two companies (Fiat / Starbucks)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Commission decides selective tax advantages for Fiat in Luxembourg and Starbucks in the Netherlands are illegal under EU state aid rules* The European Commission has decided that Luxembourg and the Netherlands have granted selective tax advantages to Fiat Finance and Trade and Starbucks, (...)

The EU Commission finds that Greek tax measures that benefit a container terminal are incompatible State aid (Piraeus / Cosco)
College of Europe (Bruges)
*Article published on StateAidHub: http://stateaidhub.eu, republished in e-Competitions with the courtesy of the author. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Authors are welcome to write an alternative article on this case/text, provided they have no (...)

The EU General Court holds that a tax measure that applies to certain transactions is not selective if it does not preclude any company or type of asset (Netherlands Maritime Technology Association)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Tax Measures with Specific Objectives Can still Be General* A tax measure that applies to certain transactions is not selective if it does not preclude any company or type of asset. Conditions for the application of a tax measure may be justified by the logic of the tax system. The Commission (...)

The EU General Court holds that tax measures are selective when they constitute an exception or deviation from the normal tax system and that this exception or deviation is limited only to certain undertakings (Banco Santander)
College of Europe (Bruges)
A Surprising Interpretation of the Concept of Selectivity* Tax measures are selective when they constitute an exception or deviation from the normal or common system of taxation. In addition, the exception must be open only to a pre-defined category of undertakings. Introduction Often, the (...)

The EU Commission holds that infrastructure projects which are economic in nature are subject to State aid scrutiny regardless of their importance (Øresund Fixed Link)
College of Europe (Bruges)
An Important Project of Common European Interest* Infrastructure projects which are economic in nature are subject to State aid scrutiny regardless of their importance. However, public funding of transport networks which are open to all users does not constitute State aid. Introduction State (...)

The EU Commission continues to scrutinize tax rulings to check their compliance with the arm-length principle and State aid rules (Amazon)
University of Oxford
Luxembourg, Amazon, and the State aid connection* The Commission’s opening decision: What should we make of Amazon’s ‘advance pricing agreement’ (APA) and its alleged (non-) compliance with the ‘arm’s length principle’ (ALP)? In early October 2014, the European Commission notified Luxembourg of its (...)

The EU Commission opens an investigation concerning transfer pricing arrangements on corporate taxation of an online store in Luxembourg (Amazon)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission investigates transfer pricing arrangements on corporate taxation of Amazon in Luxembourg* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to examine whether the decision by Luxembourg’s tax authorities with regard to the corporate income tax to be paid by (...)

The EU Commission applies a "private tax-payer test" for State aid (Apple)
University of Bristol - Law School
A ’private tax-payer test’ for State aid? ... or how the Commission is not getting it (about the Apple APA case)* Thanks to @Detig’s twitter encouragement, I have finally set out to read the recently released 11 June 2014 Decision of the European Commission SA.38373 in the case of alleged Irish (...)

The EU Commission investigates national tax rulings on transfer pricing (Starbucks / Apple / FFT)
White & Case (Brussels)
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White & Case (Brussels)
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White & Case (Brussels)
The European Commission (“EC”) has long sought to eliminate so-called harmful tax competition, which it sees as undermining the integrity of the internal market, fair competition and the fiscal sustainability of the Member States. Although the EU Member States remain sovereign in this area, over (...)

The EU Commission explains once again that tax rulings in case of advance pricing agreements can constitute State aids (FFT)
University of Oxford
Driving in the wrong direction? The opening decision in Fiat* What are we to make of the Commission’s decision to open an in-depth investigation into the tax treatment of Fiat Finance and Trade (FFT) by Luxembourg? In late September 2014, the Commission published its decision to open an (...)

The Italian Supreme Court refers for preliminary ruling to the ECJ the question of whether Italian tax relief measures for cooperative societies constitute State aid within Art. 87 EC (Famiglia Coop Agricola Carli Albino)
EUJUS Law Firm (Rome)
Factual background Under Italian tax rules, cooperative societies benefit from significant fiscal reliefs. The ability to benefit from the reliefs is dependant upon the not-for-profit nature of the activity performed by the cooperative. Similarly to tax purposes, the not-for-profit nature is (...)

The EU Commission rules that preferential tax regimes for financial holdings granted by Luxembourg are incompatible with State aid rules ("Milliardaires" Holdings and Holdings of 1929)
European Commission - Legal Service (Brussels)
"State aid and preferential tax regimes for financial holdings - The Luxembourg’s Exempt 1929 Holdings case"* Taxation and the competitive structure of financial services markets ong> “Traditional” financing has changed considerably in the past century and traditional lending institutions (banks) (...)

The Italian Supreme Court holds that a cooperative societies’ tax break should be qualified as a State aid because it involves a lower tax income into the public budget and refers the case to the ECJ for a preliminary ruling (Maricoltori Alto Adriatico)
EUJUS Law Firm (Rome)
Factual background Under Italian tax rules, cooperative societies benefit from significant tax exemptions. After an inspection of the Italian tax policy, the local tax office of Monfalcone decided that Mr. F.M.’s individual income tax return, for the years 1984, 1985 and 1986, was inaccurate. (...)

The EU Commission issues a negative decision on an Italian State aid scheme providing business tax incentives in favor of newly listed companies on regulated stock exchanges in the EU
European Commission - Legal Service (Brussels)
"The Italian tax premium in favour of newly listed companies and the notion of selectivity relative to direct business taxation"* Background A recent negative decision by the Commission of 16 March 2005 on an Italian State aid scheme providing generous business tax incentives in favour of (...)

The EU Court of First Instance rules that fiscal aid granted by a Spanish region to a company active in the manufacturing of tin capsules constitutes illegal State aid (Diputación Foral de Alava / Commission)
European Parliament (Brussels)
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London School of Economics
"Business taxation distorting the Common market – An important ruling on State aid by the Court of First Instance"* 1. Introduction The question of state aids in form of tax measures has never been as pressing as in the present. After the completion of the single market and the liberalisation (...)

The EU Commission decides that tax measures for banks introduced by an Italian piece of legislation are incompatible with State aid rules and orders their recovery
European Commission - DG MOVE
"The restructuring of the Italian banking sector: State aid cannot assist mergers"* Introduction On 11 December 2001, the European Commission decided that the tax measures for banks introduced by Italian Law n° 461/98 of 23 December 1998 and the related Legislative Decree n° 153/99 of 17 May (...)

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