European Commission - Press release
Taxation: Commission refers the Netherlands to the Court of Justice over discriminatory inheritance and gift tax rules
Brussels, 24 November 2011 – The European Commission has decided to refer the Netherlands to the EU's Court of Justice for discriminatory rules on inheritance and gift duties. Under Dutch legislation, country estates located in the Netherlands are fully or partially exempt from succession and gift duties, while inheritance or gifts of country estates in other European Economic Area (EEA) States are taxed on 100% of their market value.
The Commission already formally requested the Netherlands on 30 September 2010 ( IP/10/1252 ) to ensure compliance with the EU rules. However, the Netherlands refused to change its law.
The Dutch rules halve the succession, transfer and gift duties, if they are related to so-called country estates. Country estates which are opened to the public are fully exempted from tax. The rules, however, require that the country estate is located in the Netherlands, and there is no tax reduction for country estates located elsewhere in the EEA.
In line with the Court of Justice's judgement in Jäger , Case C-256/06 of 17 January 2008, the Commission considers this difference in treatment for Dutch country estates compared to country estates elsewhere in the EEA, to be contrary to the free movement of capital.
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