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IP/11/423

Brussels, 6 April 2011

Taxation: Commission refers Belgium to Court over tax discrimination against Icelandic and Norwegian investment funds

The European Commission has decided to refer Belgium to the EU's Court of Justice for discriminatory taxation of certain Icelandic and Norwegian collective investment funds in breach of EU rules on free movement of capital and freedom to provide services. In particular, Belgium does not grant an exemption from capital gains tax for sales of shares from certain collective investment funds established in Iceland and Norway whereas it does grant such exemptions in the case of shares from equivalent collective investment funds established elsewhere in the EU.

In Belgium, capital gains on the sale of shares of collective investment funds established in the EU but which do not qualify for the European passport according to Directive 85/611/EEC are not taxable. Such a rule does not apply to capital gains on sales of shares of collective investment funds established in Iceland and Norway which are taxable regardless of their status with respect to the European passport.

The Commission considers that this difference in treatment limits the free movement of capital guaranteed by Article 40 of the European Economic Agreement (EEA) and the freedom to provide services guaranteed by Article 36 of the same Agreement.

Investment funds established in Liechtenstein (also part of the EEA) are excluded from the scope of the infringement procedure since Liechtenstein does not exchange information on income from such investment funds with the Belgian tax authorities.

The Commission sent a Reasoned Opinion to Belgium on 30 September 2010 (IP/10/1253) requesting Belgium to end such discriminatory tax treatment.

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/11/220


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