Brussels, 5 July 2007
Direct taxation: Commission takes Greece to the Court due to the discriminatory taxation of non-Greek partnerships
The European Commission has decided to refer Greece to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) due to the Greek tax rules according to which non-resident partnerships in Greece are taxed more heavily (25 %) than those resident in Greece (20 %). The Commission is of the view that these rules are discriminatory and incompatible with the EC Treaty which guarantees the freedom of establishment.
There is a minor difference (5%) between the tax rates for domestic partnerships and foreign partnerships but Greece argues that this difference is justified due to the fact that a proportion of the profits (50 %) of a domestic partnership is taxed in Greece in the hands of the individual partners. The Commission considers that this situation does not necessarily entail higher taxation; on the contrary, it may in some circumstances lead to an even lower effective rate of tax.
Moreover, Greece argues that no foreign partnership has complained about discriminatory tax treatment and that, on the basis of the data available, there were no foreign partnerships operating in Greece in the form of a branch. However, Commission considers these arguments to be irrelevant.
The Commission sent a Reasoned Opinion to Greece on 3 January 2007 (IP/07/14) in which it requested Greece to amend its legislation. Greece did not take such steps.
The Commission's case reference number is 2006/2241.
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