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European Commission - Press release

Taxation: Commission requests Belgium to amend two discriminatory tax provisions

Brussels, 26 April 2012 – The European Commission has formally requested Belgium to remove discriminatory provisions on inheritance taxation and company taxation.

Inheritance tax

Brussels and Walloon regional legislation on inheritance taxes provides a choice between several share prices to determine the taxable base for inheritance tax purposes. This however only applies to shares listed on the Belgian stock exchange. Conversely, shares listed on stock exchanges outside Belgium can only be valued at their foreign stock market value on the date of the death without any possible choice between prices. The Commission considers that excluding the shares listed on other EU and EEA stock exchanges is discriminatory and constitutes an unjustified restriction on the free movement of capital. This difference in treatment may result in higher taxation of shares listed outside Belgium in a succession.

Company tax

The Belgian legislation grants a tax credit on business profits of up to a maximum of 3,750 euros per year. This is equal to 10% of the highest of the last three fiscal years' positive difference between the end-of-year fiscal value of the fixed assets and the total amount of the outstanding long-term debt of the company. Non-residents earning profits via a Belgium permanent establishment are excluded from this tax credit. The Commission is of the opinion that this exclusion is discriminatory and constitutes an unjustified restriction on the freedom of establishment. This situation may result in foreign businesses earning profits in Belgium through a permanent establishment being taxed more than Belgian businesses.

The Commission does not see any possible justification for either of these discriminations.

The Commission's requests take the form of reasoned opinions (second step of EU infringement proceedings). In each case, in the absence of a satisfactory response within two months, the Commission may refer Belgium to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Background

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 more information on EU infringement procedures, see MEMO/12/279

For the latest general information on infringement measures against Member

States see: http://ec.europa.eu/eu_law/infringements/infringements_en.htm

Contacts :

Emer Traynor (+32 2 292 15 48)

Natasja Bohez Rubiano (+32 2 296 64 70)


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