Tom O’Shea: on ECJ A Oy, C-48/11, Freedom of Establishment and EEA Countries – Libertad de Establecimeinto y Países del Espacio Económico Europea

Trending topic: EEA Agreement and freedom of establishment – Acuerdo del EEE y libertad de establecimiento

In a previous post we dealt with the A Oy case. Tom O’Shea has just publish a relevant comment on this ECJ judgment (see ECJ Finds Finland’s Exchange of Shares Exemption Incompatible With EEA Agreement, in Tax Notes International October 29, 2012). In his view, “The A Oy judgment demonstrates consistency in the jurisprudence of the Court in EEA matters concerning taxation. The judgment is fully in line with A (C-101/ 05), which demonstrated that the exercise of the fundamental freedoms of movement in an EEA (third- country) situation took place in a different legal context. This is confirmed by the A Oy judgment”.

Tom compares the A Oy judgment with ELISA and Rimbaud: “The difference between the situation in ELISA and the one existing in Rimbaud is that the information provided by the taxpayer could be verified by using the mutual assistance directives, whereas this was not pos- sible in a third-country setting in the absence of an agreement between the two states involved. Such an agreement concerning mutual assistance existed be- tween Finland and Norway in A Oy. Hence, the Finnish rules were found to be disproportionate because the effectiveness of fiscal supervision was protected even in the absence of the application of the mutual assistance directives in Norway. The Court made clear, however, that the Finnish court must confirm that the exchange of information provided for in the Finland-Norway Agreement 37/1991 was as effective as that provided for in directives 77/799 and 2011/16”.

Regarding the risk of tax avoidance, Tom consideres A Oy fully consistent with SGI: “…the risk of tax avoidance could be an independent justification if the national antiavoid- ance rules (controlled foreign corporation, thin cap, or transfer pricing) were designed to combat wholly artificial arrangements designed to usurp the national tax system. Alternatively, when the national antiavoidance rules were not specifically designed to combat wholly artificial arrangements, the rules could still be justified by the need to prevent tax avoidance taken together with the need to preserve the balance in the allocation of taxing rights between the member states. In such circumstances, the tax avoidance in question represents the threat or jeopardy to the balanced allocation of taxing rights”.

Thank you very much for your valuable ideas, dear Tom.

En un post anterior nos ocupamos del caso A Oy. Tom O’Shea acaba de publicar un relevante comentario sobre dicha sentencia (cfr. ECJ Finds Finland’s Exchange of Shares Exemption Incompatible With EEA Agreement, in Tax Notes International October 29, 2012). A su juicio, “El caso A Oy demuestra la coherencia de la jurisprudencia de la Corte sobre las cuestiones fiscales en el ámbito del Espacio Económico Europeo. La sentencia sigue el planteamiento del caso A (C-01/05) en el que quedó mostrado que el ejercicio de las libertades fundamentales en una situación relativaa a un país del EEE (tercer Estado) tuvo lugar en un contexto jurídico distinto [al de la Unión Europea]. Este planteamiento se confirma en la sentencia A Oy”.

Tom compara la sentencia A Oy con los casos ELISA y Rimbaud: “la diferencia entre las situaciones de ELISA y Rimbaud es que la información suminstrada por el contribuyente podía verificarse a través de las directivas de asistencia mutua, lo que no resultaba posible en el caso de un país tercero en ausencia de convenio entre los dos Estados. Tal convenio sobre asistencia mutua existía entre Finlandia y Noruega en el caso A Oy. Por consiguiente, la legislación finlandesa resultaba desproporcionada pero el carácter efectivo del contraol fiscal quedaba protegido aunque las directivas de asistencia mutua no fueran aplicables en Noruega…”.

En cuanto al riesgo de elusión fiscal, Tom considera que la sentencia A Oy es completamente coherente con SGI: “el riesgo de elusión fiscal puede constituir una justificación independiente si las normas antiabuso (transparencia fiscal internacional, subcapitalización o precios de transferencia) están diseñadas de modo específico para combatir las operaciones completamente artificiosas. Además, aunque las citadas normas no cumplan este requisito, pueden estar justificas por la necesida de prevenir la elusión fiscal unida a la necesidad de preservar un reparto equilibrado del poder tributario”.

Muchas gracias por tus valiosas reflexiones, querido Tom.

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