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PR(99)20: The EFTA Surveillance Authority sends two reasoned opinions to Iceland concerning discrimination in the field of capital movements

30.9.2002

The EFTA Surveillance Authority has on 30 November and 10 December 1999 sent reasoned opinions to Iceland for failure to comply with EEA rules concerning the free movement of capital; Article 40 of the EEA Agreement and the Capital Movements Directive (88/361/EEC).

The first opinion concerns Article 30 of the Law on income tax and net worth tax, which authorises taxable persons to deduct from their income certain amount, which has been allocated to increased (new) investment in domestic shares.  By this the taxable person lowers his base for income tax and thereby reduces the payable tax amount.

The second opinion concerns Article 78 of the Law on income tax and net worth tax, which authorises taxable persons to deduct from their assets, for net worth tax purposes, certain assets composed of domestic shares, government bonds and other instruments issued by the state and units in a collective investment undertaking which invests in the said bonds and instruments issued by the Icelandic state. By this the taxable person lowers his base for net worth tax and thereby reduces the payable tax amount.

In the Authority’s view the national provisions apply discriminatory tax treatment to taxpayers investment.  The former one (Article 30) bases the different treatment upon the company’s (in which investment is made) place of registration and the latter one (Article 78) bases the different treatment on the origin of the financial instruments in question.  In both cases the different treatment is also based on where the capital is invested.

The provisions therefore discourage investment in companies and financial instruments from other EEA States by putting such an investment at disadvantage in comparison with corresponding domestic investment eligible for tax deduction.

The Icelandic Government has been requested to take the necessary measures to comply with the reasoned opinions within three months.

For further information please contact Mr. Peter Dyrberg (Director of Legal and Executive Affairs), telephone (32)-2-286-1830.




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