The Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued an opinion in cases concerning the Irish air travel tax—an excise duty on air passenger transport, that is applied at different rates depending on the distance between the departure and the arrival airports—and its compatibility with state aid rules. The Advocate General concluded that the tax constitutes state aid and that the amount of aid to be recovered is to be computed as the difference between the €10 tax applied normally and the €2 reduced rate for flights to airports located less than 300 kilometers from Dublin airport.
The cases are: Commission v. Aer Lingus (C-164/15 P) and Commission v. Ryanair (C-165/15 P).
In July 2011, the European Commission issued a “negative decision” (2013/199/EU) concluding that the application of a reduced air travel tax rate for certain flights constituted illegal state aid and ordered its recovery from the beneficiaries. The General Court in July 2015 upheld the EC’s findings on the state aid qualification, but partially annulled the EC’s decision to the extent that it ordered the recovery of an amount which had been erroneously computed. The EC appealed the portion of the decision concerning the calculation of the amount of aid to be recovered.
Read a July 2016 report prepared by KPMG’s EU Tax Centre
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