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Dutch Ports Appeal Against EU Tax Ruling

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

30 March 2016

The European Commission's ruling directing the Government of the Netherlands to repeal corporate tax exemptions benefiting six seaports will be appealed by the ports in question.

On January 21, 2016, the Commission announced that the Netherlands must abolish an exemption from corporate tax for its six seaports, to align the regime with EU state aid rules. However, the Port of Rotterdam Authority recently confirmed its decision to appeal the decision, pointing out that other ports in the EU also receive financial support from their governments in one form or another.

The other appellants include the Amsterdam Port Authority, Groningen Seaports, the Moerdijk Port Authority, the Port of Den Helder, and Zeeland Seaports.

According to Rotterdam, the port authorities will allege in their appeal "an infringement of the principles of proper administration, such as equality and proportionality."

Paul Smits, Financial Director of the Port of Rotterdam Authority: "We are not against paying corporation tax, but then it should apply to all European sea ports. This is a matter of principle for us. The foreign ports with which we have to compete do not pay corporation tax and, in addition, are even supported in various ways by their governments."

Rotterdam cited the examples of Hamburg and Antwerp, the former having received state funding to cover losses and the latter to help develop its infrastructure, it said.

The Port of Rotterdam Authority expects to pay EUR60m (USD67m) in corporate tax next year – a figure based on its most recent annual results.

TAGS: tax | marine | European Commission | Netherlands | law | corporation tax | Europe

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