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PR(09)96: Norway and Liechtenstein asked to change their rules on tax deductibility of donations

16.12.2009

Today, the EFTA Surveillance Authority delivered two reasoned opinions, respectively to Norway and to Liechtenstein, for maintaining in force rules that allow donations to charitable organisations to be deducted from taxable income only if the organisations have their seat on their territory or, in the case of Liechtenstein, in Liechtenstein or Switzerland.

 
In its reasoned opinions, the Authority considers these rules to be a restriction on the free movement of capital in the EEA which is ensured by Article 40 of the EEA Agreement. As expressed by the European Court of Justice in C-318/07 Persche[1], the possibility of obtaining a deduction for tax purposes can have a significant influence on the donor's attitude when he chooses where a charitable donation is to be given. Under the Norwegian and Liechtenstein Tax Acts, donations to charitable organisations established in another EEA State will not give the donor a possibility to deduct the donation from his taxable income. Therefore, the national legislation is liable to dissuade donations to charitable organisations established in other EEA States. Consequently, such legislation constitutes a restriction on the free movement of capital.

The purpose of a reasoned opinion is to give the State in question a last chance to take corrective measures before the Authority decides whether to bring the matter before the EFTA Court. Norway and Liechtenstein have been given two months to take the measures necessary to comply with the reasoned opinions.


For further information, please contact:

Ms Simonetti Florence
Officer
Legal & Executive Affairs
tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 33

 

Mr Bjørnar Alterskjær
Deputy Director
Legal & Executive Affairs
tel. (+32) 495 29 16 05

 

 Brussels, 16 December 2009

 

 

[1]  C-318/07 Hein Persche v Finanzamt Lüdenscheid [2009], judgment of 27 January 2009, not yet reported.

 




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