The European Commission has concluded in a "preliminary" way thatThe tax system applied by Spain in its ports grants them "a selective advantage that may violate EU ruleson state aid "and has demanded that the company tax be applied to ports.
"In order to guarantee fair competition throughout the EU, ports that generate profits from their economic activities must pay taxes in the same way as other economic operators,no more no less", has defended the Commissioner of Competition,Margrethe Vestager.
The commissioner recalled that "ports are key infrastructure for economic growthand regional development ", which is why European standards" allow ample room for Member States to support and invest in ports ".
Brussels has called on both Spain and Italy this Monday to ensure that as of January 1, 2020, their ports contribute to corporate tax like all other companies andIt has given them two months to modify their regulationsfor it.
The main sources of income for ports in Spain, such as port taxes or income obtained from lease or concession contracts, are exempt from corporation tax in Spain, whileIn the Basque Country, as in Italy, the ports are totally exempt from the tax.
Two month period
The Community Executive already moved its reserves in April to Spain and Italy for its tax regimes applied to its ports and has now given them a period of two months to guarantee that they contribute to the tax and companies, just like the rest of the companies.
If they do not accept your proposals,Commission does not rule out starting an in-depth investigationto "verify" the compatibility of fiscal aids and to claim the end of the aid if it finds that they distort competition in the single market.
Community Executive sources have told Europa Press that "there will be no recovery of existing aid cases" in any case.
This is due to the fact that both the tax regimes applied in the ports of Spain and of Italy precede their entry into the Union and are evaluated within the framework of a specific cooperation mechanism with the Commission.
The EU executive has already claimed countries likeThe Netherlands, Belgium and Francein recent years to eliminate the exemption from corporation tax on their ports.
Following the simplification in 2017 of the rules on public investments in ports, European governments can invest up to150 million eurosin maritime ports and up to 50 million in inland ports without the need to notify public aid to Brussels.
European governments can assume the cost of operations such as dredging and compensate ports for the cost of assuming public service functions, by virtue of European standards.