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Brussels, 24 November 2010

Taxation: Commission refers Belgium to EU Court over discriminatory treatment of pension savings contributions

The European Commission has today referred Belgium to the EU's Court of Justice for only allowing tax relief on pension savings paid to Belgian institutions or, in the case of collective pension savings, only those invested in Belgian funds. The Commission considers these measures to contravene EU rules on the freedom to provide services and the free movement of capital as laid down in Articles 56 and 63 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFUE). The Commission had sent a reasoned opinion to Belgium in March 2010 (IP/10/300). As Belgium failed to comply with EU law within the deadline, the Commission has today decided to take Belgium to the EU's Court of Justice.

Under Belgian income tax law, payments to individual pension accounts, collective pension accounts and insured savings only qualify for tax relief if they are paid in Belgium. Belgian authorities claim that this restriction is necessary to protect the security of the sums paid by the pension savers.

The Commission considers this restriction to be disproportionate and discriminatory. EU legislation on mutual assistance and on life insurance should be sufficient to ensure that Belgians benefit from the same level of security whether they invest in domestic or foreign funds. The Belgian legislation acts as a deterrent to Belgian taxpayers accessing pension funds in other Member States and goes against the fundamental EU principles of the freedom to provide services and the free movement of capital.

For the press releases issued on infringement proceedings in the area of taxation or customs see:

For the most up-to-date general information on the infringement proceedings initiated against Member States, see:

For more information on EU infringement procedures, see MEMO/10/605

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