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State Aid

PR(09)26: Liechtenstein taxation of investment companies investigated

18.3.2009

Today the EFTA Surveillance Authority opened a formal investigation into Liechtenstein’s taxation of investment companies. After a preliminary assessment, the Authority has concluded that certain tax reliefs constituted state aid and questions their compatability with the EEA Agreement.

Liechtenstein law defines investment undertakings as assets raised from the public for the purpose of a collective capital investment. These assets are invested and managed for the collective account of the individual investors. Under Liechtenstein law, the management of these assets can be undertaken by investment funds or investment companies.

Between 1996 and 2005, no income tax was levied for the management activities of investment companies. The capital tax was fixed at 1‰ instead of normally 2‰ and reduced further for any capital exceeding CHF 2 million. Moreover, no coupon tax was levied on the coupons of securities (or documents equal to securities) issued by investment companies. Thecoupon tax applies to companies the capital of which is divided into shares, as for example companies limited by shares and companies with limited liability. The decision only relates to the own assets of the investment companies and not to the assets managed by them.

The Liechtenstein authorities and third parties are called on to submit their comments. A non-confidential version of the Decision will be published in the register of state aid decisions at the Authority’s website.

For further information, please contact:

Mr. Per Andreas Bjørgan
Director Competition and State Aid Directorate
Tel: (+32)(0)2 286 18 36, or

Ms. Maria J. Segura Catalán
Deputy Director
Competition and State Aid Directorate
Tel: (+32)(0)2 286 18 53

18 March 2009




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