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Taxation

Showing 1 - 20 of 44 results

Decision of the European Ombudsman closing the inquiry into complaint 2302/2013/DK against the European Commission

Friday | 17 April 2015

The case concerned the allegedly insufficient explanation given by the European Commission concerning its decision not to initiate an infringement proceeding against Austria.

The Ombudsman inquired into the issue by asking the Commission to provide further information about its decision. In reply, the Commission clarified its position. The Ombudsman found that the information thus provided was coherent, sufficient and reasonable. She therefore closed the case with a finding of no maladministration.

Decision of the European Ombudsman closing the inquiry into complaint 1184/2012/(ER)PMC against the European Commission

Tuesday | 15 April 2014

The complainant in the case at hand is an Italian airline company that, in December 2003, submitted a state aid complaint to the Commission concerning allegedly unlawful state aid received by one of its competitors for the flights operated from and to a regional airport in Italy. In September 2007, the Commission initiated the procedure foreseen in Article 108(2) TFEU against Italy. Unhappy with the Commission's delay in taking a decision concerning its state aid complaint, the complainant turned to the Ombudsman in June 2012.

In its opinion, the Commission argued that the length of the investigation was justified in the present case. It submitted that various factors have to be considered when assessing the present complaint, such as the complexity of the matter, the repeatedly changing scope of the investigation, the pending adoption of new Aviation Guidelines, as well as the need to commission various studies and translate several documents submitted in English into Italian.

In her assessment of the case, the Ombudsman was not convinced by the Commission's arguments and noted that it had been approximately ten years since the complainant submitted its state aid complaint. She therefore concluded that the Commission had failed to take a timely decision on the complainant's state aid complaint, and, consequently, made a draft recommendation. She asked the Commission to take a decision on the complainant's state aid complaint as rapidly as possible but in any event not later than 30 June 2014.

The Commission subsequently agreed with "the main points" of the Ombudsman's draft recommendations, but requested that the Ombudsman extend the deadline to complete its assessment to 31 October 2014, since that would allow it to complete its assessment on the basis of the new Aviation Guidelines, which were adopted on 20 February 2014. The Ombudsman was not however convinced by the reason which the Commission had invoked, considering that the Commission (i) had been dealing with the complainant's state aid complaint for approximately ten years, and (ii) had also a thorough knowledge of the Guidelines, since it drafted and adopted them itself. The Ombudsman thus regretted that the Commission did not take this opportunity to correct this instance of maladministration. This notwithstanding, the Ombudsman recognised that the prospect of a definitive outcome by the end of October 2014 represented some progress. In these circumstances and considering that, in its observations, the complainant did not seek compliance with the Ombudsman's recommended deadline of 30 June 2014, the Ombudsman saw no need for further inquiries. Considering also that the Commission had apologised to the complainant for the delay incurred, she closed the case.

Decision of the European Ombudsman closing his inquiry into complaint 640/2011/AN against the European Commission

Thursday | 04 October 2012

The complainant, a Spanish lawyer, complained to the European Ombudsman about the fact that the European Commission published a public consultation in English only.

The Ombudsman opened an inquiry not only into the issue of the lack of availability of the particular consultation mentioned by the complainant in languages other than English, but also into the general issue of the Commission's language policy in public consultation procedures. The Ombudsman's inquiry revealed that very few public consultations were issued in all the EU official languages. Moreover, there was no predictable language pattern, inasmuch as several consultations aimed at the general public were issued in one or a very limited number of languages. These constituted instances of maladministration.

The Ombudsman made a draft recommendation to the Commission, to the effect that it should publish all its consultations in all the official languages of the EU, or provide citizens with a translation upon request. He also recommended that the Commission draft clear, objective and reasonable guidelines concerning the use of the Treaty languages in its public consultations, which should be made known to citizens.

The Commission rejected the Ombudsman's first draft recommendation. As regards the second, it took note of the Ombudsman's observations about inconsistencies in the use of the official languages and undertook to work towards a more coherent language policy concerning public consultations. The Ombudsman considered that the Commission failed properly to implement his draft recommendations. Given that the European Parliament had just adopted a Resolution on "Public consultations and their availability in all EU languages", which covered the scope of the Ombudsman's draft recommendations, the Ombudsman did not find it appropriate to submit a Special Report to Parliament. He thus closed the inquiry with a critical remark. The Ombudsman informed Parliament of his decision, so that it could be taken into consideration when Parliament assesses the Commission's response to its Resolution.

Handling of a State Aid Complaint

Thursday | 05 July 2012

Handling of a State Aid Complaint

Thursday | 05 July 2012

Decision of the European Ombudsman closing his inquiry into complaint 930/2010/(ANA)CK against the European Commission

Friday | 27 April 2012

Summary of the decision on complaint 930/2010/(ANA)CK against the European Commission

The complainant complained to the European Ombudsman that the European Commission did not deal appropriately with his infringement complaint, in which he alleged that Cyprus infringed EU law by asking him to pay two taxes when importing a second-hand car. He argued that one of the taxes constituted an "excise tax".

In March 2011, the Ombudsman made a proposal for a friendly solution, inviting the Commission to re-examine the complainant's infringement complaint against Cyprus. In its reply to the proposal, the Commission informed the Ombudsman that on 7 April 2011, it had sent a letter of formal notice to Cyprus concerning the fact that the one of the taxes was not fully in line with Article 110 TFEU. It added that it is in the process of examining another aspect of the Cypriot legislation on car taxation in the framework of an older case (case 2005/4093). The Commission went on to state that it would keep the complainant informed of any further action that it would take regarding these cases.

The Ombudsman concluded that no further inquires are justified, since it appears that the substantive issues raised in the complainant's infringement complaint are receiving appropriate attention from the Commission. With a view to assisting the Commission in further improving its procedures, the Ombudsman made two further remarks.

Decision of the European Ombudsman closing his inquiry into complaint 1827/2009/(ANA)CK against the European Commission

Tuesday | 14 February 2012

Summary of the decision on complaint 1827/2009/(ANA)CK (confidential) against the European Commission

A Greek citizen submitted an infringement complaint to the Commission alleging, inter alia, that Greece infringed Council Directive 83/183/EEC on tax exemptions applicable to permanent imports from a Member State of the personal property of individuals.

In July 2009, the complainant complained to the Ombudsman alleging that the Commission had not appropriately dealt with his infringement complaint. In particular, he alleged that the Commission, by concluding that the Greek legislation in question fell outside the scope of the Directive, failed to take into account the pertinent Greek legislation and the case-law of the Greek Supreme Administrative Court, developed in light of the relevant case-law of the Court of Justice.

In February 2011, the Ombudsman made a friendly solution proposal inviting the Commission to re-examine the complainant's infringement complaint against Greece. In its reply to the proposal, the Commission reiterated that it acted diligently in relation to the complaint submitted to it.

The Ombudsman regretted the abrupt manner in which the Commission dismissed the arguments made by the complainant. Nevertheless, he noted that, in a later communication, the complainant informed him about recent developments in the case-law of the Greek Supreme Administrative Court. The Ombudsman took the view that, under the case-law of the Greek Supreme Administrative Court, there would be no practical purpose for the Commission to proceed with an infringement complaint against Greece relating to the imposition of the tax in question. In this context, the disagreement between the Commission and the complainant as regards the correct interpretation of the Greek tax rules became mute. While the Ombudsman was not convinced that the Commission acted diligently in response to the infringement complaint submitted to it by the complainant, he closed the case with a finding that no further inquiries were justified.

Decision of the European Ombudsman closing his inquiry into complaint 2403/2008/OV against the European Commission

Monday | 17 October 2011

On 27 September 2007, the complainant, a Dutch citizen residing in Germany who receives Dutch unemployment benefit, complained to the Commission about an alleged discriminatory practice against non-German citizens by the public broadcasting company for the south-west of Germany as regards exemption from TV and radio licence fees. Following the Ombudsman's intervention, the Commission sent two holding replies to the complainant in December 2007 and July 2008. However, having received no substantive reply, the complainant again complained to the Ombudsman in July 2008. He alleged that the Commission failed properly to deal, as regards both procedure and substance, with his complaint of 27 September 2007.

As regards the substance, the Commission explained in its opinion that the Dutch unemployment benefit received by the complainant (which is not means-tested) was not comparable with the German benefit which entitles its recipients to an exemption from TV and radio licence fees in Germany (and which is means-tested). In the Commission's view, there was therefore no infringement of EU rules on the free movement of persons. The Ombudsman concluded that the Commission appeared correctly to have analysed and explained the substantive issues which arose in this case and therefore found no instance of maladministration.

As regards procedure, the Commission argued that it had dealt with the case within a reasonable time and that it had informed the complainant of its conclusion that there was no infringement. The Ombudsman first noted that the complainant's complaint was transferred from one Commission service to another on three occasions before being dealt with. He concluded that the Commission had failed to abide by the provisions of the Commission communication to the European Parliament and the European Ombudsman on relations with the complainant in respect of infringements of Community law, more particularly as regards (i) the registration of complaints, (ii) the sending of an acknowledgement of receipt, and (iii) the closure of the case. He therefore made a draft recommendation to the Commission that it should (i) acknowledge that it failed to respect the Communication, (ii) apologise for this omission, and (iii) take the necessary measures to ensure that it will comply with the Communication when dealing with cases in the future.

The Commission both acknowledged that it had failed to respect points 3 and 4 of the Communication and apologised for its failure to do so. However, it did not explicitly acknowledge that it failed to respect point 10 of the Communication. Neither did it apologise for its failure to do so. The Ombudsman therefore concluded that his draft recommendation had been partly accepted by the Commission. As regards the third part of the draft recommendation, the Ombudsman noted that, in the meantime, he had opened an own-initiative inquiry into the relationship between the new EU Pilot and the procedural guarantees set out in the Communication. He therefore concluded that no further inquiries into this matter were justified.