State Aid Law Blog

State Aid Uncovered Blog

On a weekly basis Phedon Nicolaides posts critical analysis pieces on the latest State aid judgments and decisions on his blog State Aid Uncovered. Each article presents the main points of a court ruling or Commission‘s decision, places them in the context of similar case law or practice, assesses the underlying reasoning, and identifies any inconsistencies or contradictions.
Occasional guest blog posts by other State aid experts complement the State aid knowledge hub.

Join the debate now!

Professor at Maastricht University; Professor at University of Nicosia, and Academic Director at Lexxion Training

- Taxation ×

A Case of a Narrow Tax that Is Not Selective

Introduction On 17 April 2024, the General Court ruled, in case T-112/22, Ideella föreningen Svenska Bankföreningen med firma Svenska Bankföreningen, Näringsverksamhet & Länsförsäkringar Bank v Commission, that a Swedish tax on only nine banks was not selective by not taxing the many smaller banks.1 The applicants, a Swedish banking association and a Swedish bank, respectively, sought the annulment of Commission […]

Advance Tax Rulings

Introduction In 2016, the Commission found, in decision 2016/1699, that advance tax rulings [ATRs] that had been provided by Belgium to multi-national companies [MNCs] with establishments in Belgium constituted State aid because the ATRs set the taxable income of those companies according to a hypothetical average income rather than their actual income. The profit that exceeded that hypothetical average was […]

Selectivity of Regional Schemes

Introduction Article 107(3)(a) areas and the outermost regions of the EU [defined in Article 349 TFEU] are more favourably treated under State aid rules. But they still have to comply with the terms of Commission authorising decisions. In case regional State aid is found to be incompatible with the internal market, their regional handicaps cannot justify any leniency in the […]

Special Economic Zones

State Aid Blogs - State Aid Uncovered SM posts 29
Member States must check that the State aid claimed by undertakings established in special economic zones concern activities that are actually carried out within those zones. Introduction Several Member States have special economic zones in which companies enjoy preferential tax treatment. These zones can be divided into two categories: those that can be found mostly in the new Member States […]

A Non-Selective Financial Tax with a Narrow Scope

The scope of a tax must be objectively defined in order for those excluded from the tax not to benefit from a selective advantage. Introduction Taxes are burdens, so they fall outside the scope of Article 107(1) TFEU which prohibits selective benefits funded with state resources. Normally, Article 107(1) applies to benefits from tax exemptions or tax derogations which result […]

Selectivity and Tax Measures

State Aid Blogs - Blog KV 46
The reference system for determining the selectivity of a tax measure must have its own logic and be autonomous and its identification depends on the content, structure and specific effects of the applicable rules. A measure that does not exclude any particular undertaking can be selective if it treats differently undertakings which are in similar situations. Introduction On 6 October […]

“Global” Assessment of Tax Schemes

It is incumbent on the Commission to carry out a global assessment of tax schemes. But it must take into account only those provisions of schemes that apply ex ante and do not depend on the circumstances of individual tax payers. Only when aid has to be recovered must the provisions that apply to the specific circumstances of individual tax […]

Taxation of Multinational Companies: The Apple Case – A Political Setback for the Commission, but a Victory on Principle

Defects, incompleteness and inconsistencies in tax rulings are not sufficient to prove the existence of an advantage in the meaning of Article 107(1) TFEU. Update on Temporary Framework: Number of approved and published covid-19 measures, as of 17 July 2020: 213* Legal basis: Article 107(2)(b): 21; Article 107(3)(b): 179; Article 107(3)(c): 18 Five Member States have implemented 13 or more […]

Can a Tax (rather than a Tax Exemption) Confer a Selective Advantage?

A tax that is levied at one level of government and does not apply to products and activities at a different level of government need not be selective. Introduction A tax exemption normally confers a selective advantage, unless it is justified by the logic of the tax. Counterintuitively, a tax itself can be selectively advantageous if its scope is too […]

What Makes a Public Health Care System Non-economic?

Health services are not economic in nature when they are funded by the state through taxation, they are provided for free or at a nominal fee which is the same for all patients and they are available to all citizens on a universal basis and on the same terms.   Introduction   After the judgment of the General Court of […]

- Taxation ×

A Case of a Narrow Tax that Is Not Selective

Introduction On 17 April 2024, the General Court ruled, in case T-112/22, Ideella föreningen Svenska Bankföreningen med firma Svenska Bankföreningen, Näringsverksamhet & Länsförsäkringar Bank v Commission, that a Swedish tax on only nine banks was not selective by not taxing the many smaller banks.1 The applicants, a Swedish banking association and a Swedish bank, respectively, sought the annulment of Commission […]

Advance Tax Rulings

Introduction In 2016, the Commission found, in decision 2016/1699, that advance tax rulings [ATRs] that had been provided by Belgium to multi-national companies [MNCs] with establishments in Belgium constituted State aid because the ATRs set the taxable income of those companies according to a hypothetical average income rather than their actual income. The profit that exceeded that hypothetical average was […]

Selectivity of Regional Schemes

Introduction Article 107(3)(a) areas and the outermost regions of the EU [defined in Article 349 TFEU] are more favourably treated under State aid rules. But they still have to comply with the terms of Commission authorising decisions. In case regional State aid is found to be incompatible with the internal market, their regional handicaps cannot justify any leniency in the […]

Special Economic Zones

State Aid Blogs - State Aid Uncovered SM posts 29
Member States must check that the State aid claimed by undertakings established in special economic zones concern activities that are actually carried out within those zones. Introduction Several Member States have special economic zones in which companies enjoy preferential tax treatment. These zones can be divided into two categories: those that can be found mostly in the new Member States […]

A Non-Selective Financial Tax with a Narrow Scope

The scope of a tax must be objectively defined in order for those excluded from the tax not to benefit from a selective advantage. Introduction Taxes are burdens, so they fall outside the scope of Article 107(1) TFEU which prohibits selective benefits funded with state resources. Normally, Article 107(1) applies to benefits from tax exemptions or tax derogations which result […]

Selectivity and Tax Measures

State Aid Blogs - Blog KV 46
The reference system for determining the selectivity of a tax measure must have its own logic and be autonomous and its identification depends on the content, structure and specific effects of the applicable rules. A measure that does not exclude any particular undertaking can be selective if it treats differently undertakings which are in similar situations. Introduction On 6 October […]

“Global” Assessment of Tax Schemes

It is incumbent on the Commission to carry out a global assessment of tax schemes. But it must take into account only those provisions of schemes that apply ex ante and do not depend on the circumstances of individual tax payers. Only when aid has to be recovered must the provisions that apply to the specific circumstances of individual tax […]

Taxation of Multinational Companies: The Apple Case – A Political Setback for the Commission, but a Victory on Principle

Defects, incompleteness and inconsistencies in tax rulings are not sufficient to prove the existence of an advantage in the meaning of Article 107(1) TFEU. Update on Temporary Framework: Number of approved and published covid-19 measures, as of 17 July 2020: 213* Legal basis: Article 107(2)(b): 21; Article 107(3)(b): 179; Article 107(3)(c): 18 Five Member States have implemented 13 or more […]

Can a Tax (rather than a Tax Exemption) Confer a Selective Advantage?

A tax that is levied at one level of government and does not apply to products and activities at a different level of government need not be selective. Introduction A tax exemption normally confers a selective advantage, unless it is justified by the logic of the tax. Counterintuitively, a tax itself can be selectively advantageous if its scope is too […]

What Makes a Public Health Care System Non-economic?

Health services are not economic in nature when they are funded by the state through taxation, they are provided for free or at a nominal fee which is the same for all patients and they are available to all citizens on a universal basis and on the same terms.   Introduction   After the judgment of the General Court of […]

- Taxation ×

A Case of a Narrow Tax that Is Not Selective

Introduction On 17 April 2024, the General Court ruled, in case T-112/22, Ideella föreningen Svenska Bankföreningen med firma Svenska Bankföreningen, Näringsverksamhet & Länsförsäkringar Bank v Commission, that a Swedish tax on only nine banks was not selective by not taxing the many smaller banks.1 The applicants, a Swedish banking association and a Swedish bank, respectively, sought the annulment of Commission […]

Advance Tax Rulings

Introduction In 2016, the Commission found, in decision 2016/1699, that advance tax rulings [ATRs] that had been provided by Belgium to multi-national companies [MNCs] with establishments in Belgium constituted State aid because the ATRs set the taxable income of those companies according to a hypothetical average income rather than their actual income. The profit that exceeded that hypothetical average was […]

Selectivity of Regional Schemes

Introduction Article 107(3)(a) areas and the outermost regions of the EU [defined in Article 349 TFEU] are more favourably treated under State aid rules. But they still have to comply with the terms of Commission authorising decisions. In case regional State aid is found to be incompatible with the internal market, their regional handicaps cannot justify any leniency in the […]

Special Economic Zones

State Aid Blogs - State Aid Uncovered SM posts 29
Member States must check that the State aid claimed by undertakings established in special economic zones concern activities that are actually carried out within those zones. Introduction Several Member States have special economic zones in which companies enjoy preferential tax treatment. These zones can be divided into two categories: those that can be found mostly in the new Member States […]

A Non-Selective Financial Tax with a Narrow Scope

The scope of a tax must be objectively defined in order for those excluded from the tax not to benefit from a selective advantage. Introduction Taxes are burdens, so they fall outside the scope of Article 107(1) TFEU which prohibits selective benefits funded with state resources. Normally, Article 107(1) applies to benefits from tax exemptions or tax derogations which result […]

Selectivity and Tax Measures

State Aid Blogs - Blog KV 46
The reference system for determining the selectivity of a tax measure must have its own logic and be autonomous and its identification depends on the content, structure and specific effects of the applicable rules. A measure that does not exclude any particular undertaking can be selective if it treats differently undertakings which are in similar situations. Introduction On 6 October […]

“Global” Assessment of Tax Schemes

It is incumbent on the Commission to carry out a global assessment of tax schemes. But it must take into account only those provisions of schemes that apply ex ante and do not depend on the circumstances of individual tax payers. Only when aid has to be recovered must the provisions that apply to the specific circumstances of individual tax […]

Taxation of Multinational Companies: The Apple Case – A Political Setback for the Commission, but a Victory on Principle

Defects, incompleteness and inconsistencies in tax rulings are not sufficient to prove the existence of an advantage in the meaning of Article 107(1) TFEU. Update on Temporary Framework: Number of approved and published covid-19 measures, as of 17 July 2020: 213* Legal basis: Article 107(2)(b): 21; Article 107(3)(b): 179; Article 107(3)(c): 18 Five Member States have implemented 13 or more […]

Can a Tax (rather than a Tax Exemption) Confer a Selective Advantage?

A tax that is levied at one level of government and does not apply to products and activities at a different level of government need not be selective. Introduction A tax exemption normally confers a selective advantage, unless it is justified by the logic of the tax. Counterintuitively, a tax itself can be selectively advantageous if its scope is too […]

What Makes a Public Health Care System Non-economic?

Health services are not economic in nature when they are funded by the state through taxation, they are provided for free or at a nominal fee which is the same for all patients and they are available to all citizens on a universal basis and on the same terms.   Introduction   After the judgment of the General Court of […]

How to Submit a Blog Post

Do you want to share your analysis of a State aid law topic? We invite you to submit your post on, for example: recent European, national or international judgments or legislation with relevance to EU State aid law; new developments, publications, hot topics in EU State aid law. The recommended length of the post is 500-2,000 words incl. references (endnotes). Your analysis will be published under the category ‘Guest State Aid Blog’.

Here’s how you can publish a post on the Blog as a guest author:

Step 1: Submit your draft to Nelly Stratieva at stratieva@lexxion.eu.

Step 2: We at Lexxion will review your draft to make sure its content and quality fit the blog. If needed, they will suggest what improvements you should make.

Step 3: Once your draft has been finalised and accepted, we will publish your post.

Submit your guest blog post

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