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ECJ AG Advises On UK-Gibraltar Gambling Tax Dispute

by Ulrika Lomas, Tax-News.com, Brussels

23 January 2017

An EU Advocate General has opined that the UK and Gibraltar should be considered "one entity" in a case regarding the applicability of UK gambling duties.

The Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association (GBGA) is challenging the gambling tax regime introduced by the UK Government in 2014. The UK requires gambling service providers to pay a gambling duty in respect of services provided to UK persons, regardless of whether the provider is located in the UK or another country. The GBGA claims that the tax is contrary to the freedom to provide services established in Article 56 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).

The Advocate General said that the question of whether or not Article 56 can be invoked in this case hinges on whether Gibraltar and the UK are considered part of the same EU member state, and if the dispute is a "purely internal situation."

According to the Advocate General (AG), the Court of Justice "should hold that, for the purposes of Article 56 TFEU, Gibraltar and the UK are to be treated as one entity." Should the Court find otherwise, AG Szpunar said, "the provisions of the new tax regime which are contested … should not be regarded as a restriction on the freedom to provide services, given that they apply without distinction and on a non-discriminatory basis to gambling service providers located in the UK and elsewhere."

TAGS: tax | Gibraltar | gambling tax | United Kingdom | gambling | European Union (EU) | services | Europe

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