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European Commission - Statement

Statement by Commissioner Vestager welcoming Luxembourg's decision to provide all information requested on tax rulings and patent boxes

Brussels, 18 December 2014

"I am very pleased that the Luxembourg government has today announced they will fully comply with the Commission's requests for information on its tax rulings practice and patent box scheme. They will now provide the Commission with all the requested information outstanding.

The Commission would then no longer need to pursue infringement action against Luxembourg.

I welcome that by today's announcement Luxembourg acknowledges the Commission's powers to investigate their general tax rulings practice under State aid rules. I understand that the Luxembourg authorities have also decided to withdraw their actions against the Commission's information requests before the European courts.

We need to take action – and are taking action - to ensure companies pay their fair share of tax. I am committed to taking a structured and informed approach to address distortions of competition in the EU through unfair and selective tax advantages.

I hope and have every reason to assume that going forward my team and I will see good cooperation by the Luxembourg authorities and all other Member States in our efforts to tackle unfair tax avoidance."


Background

The Commission has been gathering information on tax rulings from several Member States, including Luxembourg, since June 2013. The Commission yesterday confirmed that it extended this enquiry to all Member States. Separately, the Commission has also requested information about intellectual property taxation regimes, so-called "patent boxes", from the ten Member States with such a regime (Belgium, Cyprus, France, Hungary, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and United Kingdom).

Luxembourg initially failed to adequately comply with the previous requests for information on the tax ruling and the patent box enquiry. Regarding its tax ruling system Luxembourg only provided general information but failed to provide a specific overview of rulings it provided in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Luxembourg also refused to deliver certain information on the usage of its patent box scheme, including the details of the 100 largest companies falling under the regime.

Following the adoption of two decisions ordering Luxembourg to deliver the requested information in March 2014, the Commission therefore initiated infringement proceedings against Luxembourg by issuing letters of formal notice in June 2014. In parallel, Luxembourg in April 2014 brought two actions for annulment of the Commission's injunction decisions before the General Court (case T-258/14 and T-259/14).

 

STATEMENT/14/2800

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