European Commission - Press release
Taxation: Commission refers Spain to the Court of Justice over discriminatory inheritance and gift tax rules
Brussels, 27 October 2011 – The European Commission has decided to refer Spain to the EU's Court of Justice for discriminatory rules on inheritance and gift tax that require non-residents to pay higher taxes than residents.
The Commission had already formally requested Spain on 5 May 2010 (IP/10/513) and additionally on 17 February 2011 to take action to ensure compliance with the EU rules in regard to inheritance and gift tax provisions. However, no amendments have been made to Spanish legislation on the matter.
Inheritance and gift tax in Spain are regulated at both state level and at the level of autonomous communities. The autonomous communities' legislation grants residents a number of tax benefits that, in practice, allow them to pay much lower taxes than non-residents.
The Commission considers that this discriminatory tax treatment constitutes an obstacle to the free movement of people and capital, fundamental principles of the EU's Single Market, and is in breach of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (Articles 45 and 63 respectively).
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