Brussels, 29 October 2009
The European Commission has decided to refer Austria to the European Court of Justice over its discriminatory treatment of certain foreign non-profit institutions in respect of tax benefits in the field of science and research. The Commission considers these rules to be incompatible with the free movement of capital.
According to the Austrian rules, donations to certain institutions established in Austria such as universities, art colleges or the academy of science may be deducted as operating expenses, but similar donations to comparable institutions abroad may not be deducted. This makes it less attractive to donate to foreign institutions than domestic ones, even if these institutions pursue the same goals.
The Commission is of the opinion that by restricting the tax deductibility of donations to research and educational institutions established in Austria, violates the principle of the free movement of capital (Article 56 of the Treaty and Article 40 of the EEA Agreement).
The Commission's case reference number is 2007/2079.
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