The European Commission today issued a release announcing that it is requiring the Netherlands to repeal an exemption from corporate tax for six seaports, to align the tax regime with EU state aid rules. The EC also proposed in two separate decisions that Belgium and France align their taxation of ports with state aid rules.
According to the EC release, the commercial operation of port infrastructure constitutes an economic activity, and the EC concluded that public companies when carrying out economic activities are subject to paying corporate tax (as are private companies).
The EC determined that the Dutch provisions exempting certain public companies, including port operators, from corporate tax at six Dutch seaports may give those companies an undue advantage over their competitors. The Netherlands now has two months to take the necessary steps to remove the exemption so that beginning 1 January 2017, the six ports will be subject to the same corporate taxation rules.
In Belgium, a number of sea and inland waterway ports are exempt from the general corporate income tax regime. The Belgian ports are subject to a different tax regime, with a different base and tax rates, resulting in an overall lower level of taxation for Belgian ports as compared to other companies active in Belgium.
The EC noted that most French ports are fully exempt from corporate income tax. The EC’s preliminary finding is that both Belgium and France must revise their laws so that public or private ports pay corporate tax on their economic activities in the same way as other companies in Belgium and France. Each country now has two months to react.
The KPMG logo and name are trademarks of KPMG International. KPMG International is a Swiss cooperative that serves as a coordinating entity for a network of independent member firms. KPMG International provides no audit or other client services. Such services are provided solely by member firms in their respective geographic areas. KPMG International and its member firms are legally distinct and separate entities. They are not and nothing contained herein shall be construed to place these entities in the relationship of parents, subsidiaries, agents, partners, or joint venturers. No member firm has any authority (actual, apparent, implied or otherwise) to obligate or bind KPMG International or any member firm in any manner whatsoever. The information contained in herein is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavor to provide accurate and timely information, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. No one should act on such information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of the particular situation. For more information, contact KPMG's Federal Tax Legislative and Regulatory Services Group at: + 1 202 533 4366, 1801 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20006.