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European Commission - Press release

Taxation: European Commission requests Belgium to review discriminatory venture capital tax incentive

Brussels, 27 February 2012 – The European Commission has officially asked Belgium to amend its legislation on tax credits for investing in venture capital. Belgian legislation grants a personal income tax credit to individuals investing in shares and units of ARKimedes funds. This tax credit is only granted on the condition that these investors are resident in the Flemish region. Residents of other Member States cannot benefit from the mentioned tax credit even if they are fully taxable in Belgium because they derive all or almost all of their personal income in Belgium.

The Commission considers that this legislation is incompatible with the Treaties, as it discourages the free movement of workers and self-employed persons which is guaranteed by EU rules (articles 45 and 49 TFEU and 28 and 31 EEA). These provisions also go against the case-law of the EU's Court of Justice that taxpayers who are tax residents of other Member States of the EU or EEA but derive all or almost all of their income in Belgium should be entitled to the same tax benefits as Belgian residents (see case C-279/93 Schumacker).

The request takes the form of a reasoned opinion (the second stage of an infringement procedure). If the rules are not brought into compliance within two months, the Commission may refer the matter to the Court of Justice of the European Union.


The ARKimedes funds are part of a venture capital scheme introduced in Flanders to provide venture capital for new or existing small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in order to stimulate investments and to promote entrepreneurship.

For the press releases issued on infringement proceedings in the area of taxation or customs see:

For more information on EU infringement procedures, see MEMO/12/134.

For the most up-to-date general information on the infringement proceedings initiated against Member States, see:

Contacts :

Emer Traynor (+32 2 292 15 48)

Natasja Bohez Rubiano (+32 2 296 64 70)

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