Brussels, 28 January 2010
Direct Taxation: Commission requests Greece to amend its tax provisions on tax deductibility of certain categories of consumer expenditure
The European Commission has sent Greece a formal request to amend its rules which only allows a tax deduction of certain types of consumer expenditure if it is incurred in Greece, and only allows Greek tax residents to carry out such a deduction. This effectively excludes non-residents from the deductions, even if they obtain the major part of their global income in Greece. This request is in the form of a reasoned opinion, the second stage of the infringement procedure under Article 258 of the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union (former article 226 of the EC treaty). If Greece does not amend its law within two months, the Commission may refer the case to the Court of Justice.
The Commission considers that the Greek legislation on the tax deductibility of certain types of consumer expenditure runs contrary to the free movement of persons, the freedom of establishment and the freedom to provide services.
The non-deductibility of consumer expenditure incurred abroad has the effect of discouraging Greek residents from receiving services from abroad. In addition, such rules may also have the effect of impeding foreign service providers from offering their services to Greek taxpayers.
Furthermore, it follows from the ECJ judgment in case C-279/93 (Schumacker) that a non-resident taxpayer who derives his income entirely or almost exclusively from activities based in Greece is in a comparable situation to a Greek resident and should thus enjoy the same beneficial tax treatment that applies to residents. However, currently only Greek residents can deduct the expenditure in question from their Greek income. Non-residents taxpayers who earn most of their global taxable income in Greece cannot avail of this possibility.
The Commission's cases reference number is 2009/4216.
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