Opinion Statement ECJ-TF 3/2022 on the EFTA Court decision of 1 June 2022 in Case E-3/21, PRA Group Europe, on the Discriminatory Interaction between the 'Interest Barrier' and Group Contributions
CFE Europe tax advisers 2022
12 Pages Posted: 8 Nov 2022 Last revised: 3 Mar 2023
Date Written: October 19, 2022
The CFE ECJ Task Force welcomes the EFTA Court's progressive impetus on fundamental freedoms doctrine: PRA Group Europe AS makes it clear that for purposes of identifying a restriction, for establishing comparability and for justification, a combined perspective on the interaction of two sets of rules – here the interest barrier on the one hand and the group contribution regime on the other – is necessary. From that perspective, the interaction of the Norwegian rules on the "interest barrier" and on group contributions leads to unjustified discrimination in cross-border situations.
However, if asked to decide on a similar case, the CJEU might take a different approach. First, the CJEU could take a different perspective on the available grounds of justifications and, e.g., accept the coherence of the tax system as such ground. Second, Article 4 ATAD gives the Member States the option to treat an "interest barrier group" as a single taxpayer and to limit the group perspective to domestic settings. Even if such an option in the ATAD is not viewed as "exhaustive harmonization", one could wonder if the mere existence of the ATAD and the value judgments made by the EU legislature therein could lead to a different outcome in the EU (CJEU) vis-à-vis the EEA (EFTA Court).
Keywords: CJEU, ATAD, EFTA, Tax law, European tax law
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