Brussels, 12 September 2007
State aid: Commission opens an investigation into the Polish tonnage tax scheme for international maritime transport
The Commission has today decided to open a formal investigation into certain aspects of a measure by the Polish authorities, whereby entities liable for taxes in Poland and engaged in international maritime transportation could change the tax base for their operating profits. Under the notified measure, companies fulfilling certain criteria could opt for a tonnage tax based on the net tonnage of their fleet, in place of the usual corporation tax levied on the profits derived from their maritime activities. The notified scheme was scheduled to run for ten years (from 2007).
Community guidelines on State aid to maritime transport explicitly foresee the possibility for the Commission to declare compatible State aid to maritime companies that takes the form of tonnage tax. In the present case, the scheme foreseen by the Polish differs in several respects from previous aid of that kind already approved by the Commission. The Commission has opened an investigation in order to assess how these differences might impact on the compatibility, more precisely:
The Commission considers that while the remainder of the scheme appears to comply with Commission guidelines on state aid to maritime transport, it cannot at this stage approve the notified measure in its entirety.