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IP/11/161

Brussels, 16 February 2011

Taxation: Commission requests Greece to modify its discriminatory tax amnesty

The European Commission has formally requested Greece to change its tax legislation which discriminates against funds held abroad by Greek residents. Under the Greek tax amnesty, disclosed funds which are transferred to a bank account in Greece benefit from a lower rate of tax than those kept abroad. The Commission considers these discriminatory provisions to be incompatible with the freedom to provide services and with the free movement of capital provided for in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and in the European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement. The request takes the form of a "reasoned opinion". If there is no satisfactory response within two months, the Commission may decide to refer the case to the EU's Court of Justice.

Greek taxpayers that voluntarily disclose funds which are held abroad can benefit from a temporary tax amnesty. In addition, if they transfer these disclosed funds to a bank account in Greece for at least a year are meant to pay a 5% tax of the funds while the applicable tax rate is 8% for those funds which are maintained out of Greece.

The Commission considers that these rules dissuade Greek taxpayers from maintaining their disclosed funds in other Member States or EEA countries. Therefore, the rules in question constitute a restriction on the free movement of capital of Article 63 of the TFEU and the freedom to provide services of Article 56 of the TFEU, and the corresponding Articles of the EEA Agreement.

For press releases on infringement cases in the taxation or customs field see:

http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/common/infringements/infringement_cases/index_en.htm

For the latest general information on infringement measures against Member States see: http://ec.europa.eu/community_law/index_en.htm

For more information on EU infringement procedures, see MEMO/11/86


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