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Tax & Financial Standards New Judgments of the ECJ For January 2024

29.01.2024

Tax & Financial Standards New Judgments of the ECJ For January 2024

Tax & Financial Standards New Judgments of the ECJ For January 2024

 

January

 

С-537/22 of 11 January 2024

Agriculture — European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) funding — Organic farming — Financial support for organic in-conversion production — Organic beekeeping — Minimum conversion period — Concepts of ‘initial period’ and ‘conversion’

Key aspects of the decision in the economic range:

Support for rural development. A national provision which limits the possibility of receiving financial support for conversion to organic beekeeping to the minimum conversion period referred to in Article 38(3) of Commission Regulation (EC) No 889/2008 of 5 September 2008 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 on organic production and labelling of organic products with regard to organic production, labelling and control. A maximum duration for the grant of support for conversion to organic farming. Member States may decide that conversion to organic farming may give rise to support for a period shorter than that of five to seven years provided for in the first sentence of Article 29(3) of Regulation No 1305/2013.

Concepts of ‘initial period’ and ‘conversion’.

Proceedings between the Director of the State Fund For Agriculture, Bulgaria, and I registered as a farmer, concerning the refusal of financial aid under Measure 11 ‘Organic Agriculture’ of the Bulgarian Rural Development Programme for the period 2014-2020 on the ground that I as an applicant for that aid, had not complied with the obligation not to exceed the minimum periods for conversion to organic farming.

С-755/22 of 11 January 2024

Credit agreements for consumers  — Obligation of a creditor to check a consumer’s creditworthiness — Regularisation of a breach due to full performance of the credit agreement — Effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties — Credit agreement void and creditor’s entitlement to payment of the agreed interest forfeited  — No harmful consequences for the consumer — Holding creditors accountable and preventing irresponsible practices when granting credit to consumers

Key aspects of the decision in the economic range:

Consumer protection. Where the creditor has failed to fulfil its obligation to examine the consumer’s creditworthiness, it is allowed that creditor from being penalised, in accordance with national law, by the consumer credit agreement being void and entitlement to payment of the agreed interest being forfeited, even though that agreement has been fully performed by the parties and the consumer has not suffered any harmful consequences as a result of that failure to fulfil the obligation. Financial consequences of the conclusion of a credit agreement on the consumer’s situation may also occur after the credit has been repaid.

Proceedings between N and EC Fin regarding the return of amounts on credit granted by the latter to a consumer.

С-128/21 of 18 January 2024

Competition — Decisions of the chamber of notaries of a Member State fixing the methods for calculating fees — Restriction ‘by object’ — Lack of justification — Fine — Imposition on the association of undertakings and its members — Perpetrator of the infringement — Concepts of ‘undertaking’, ‘associations of undertakings’and ‘trade between Member States’

Key aspects of the decision in the economic range:

Decisions, attributable to the professional association, which are likely to distort or restrict competition under EU law. Decisions of an association of undertakings standardising the way in which notaries calculate the fees charged for carrying out certain of their activities constitute restrictions of competition ‘by object’ prohibited by that provision.

Concepts of ‘undertaking’, ‘associations of undertakings’and ‘trade between Member States’

Proceedings between the Chamber of Notaries and natural persons practising as notaries to the Competition Council concerning the latter’s decision to impose fines on that chamber and those notaries for infringement of Lithuanian and EU competition law.

С-227/22 of 18 January 2024

Transport - Motor vehicle driving licence - Issuance, validity and renewal - Physical and mental fitness to drive - Medical examinations - Frequency - Document certifying the psychological fitness of drivers

Key aspects of the decision in the economic range:

Directive 2006/126/EC on driving licenses does not allow a Member State to require persons who wish to carry out a professional activity as drivers of motor vehicles for the transport of passengers or goods and who hold a driving license as at the time of this issuance, their physical and mental fitness to drive has been verified, to possess both a driving license and a certificate of psychological fitness having a shorter validity period than it.

Proceedings concerning a penalty order issued to IL for failing to produce a valid certificate of psychological fitness as required by national law at a roadside test.

С-562/22 of 18 January 2024

Free movement of capital – Restrictions – Acquisition of agricultural land in a Member State – Obligation for the acquirer to have the status of resident for more than five years – Concept of „capital movements“

Key aspects of the decision in the economic range:

TFEU must be interpreted as precluding legislation of a Member State under which the acquisition of a right of ownership of agricultural land located in its territory is subject to the condition that the acquirer has the status of resident for more than five years.

Concept of „capital movements“.

Proceedings, concerning an application for a declaration that contracts relating to the acquisition of agricultural land in Bulgaria are void in view of their allegedly fictitious nature.

С-656/22 of 18 January 2024

Agriculture — European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) — Rural development support measures — Lease or letting agreement — Lease agreement concluded between a municipal authority and an aid beneficiary — Commitments over five years — Termination of the lease agreement further to a legislative amendment — Obligation to reimburse the aid received in part or in full — Not possible to adapt those commitments to a new situation for the holding — Definition of ‘force majeure’, ‘exceptional circumstances’, ‘expropriation of the holding’ and ‘reconfiguration and rearrangement of agricultural parcels in order to form more rational agricultural holdings in terms of land use which is decided upon or approved by the competent public authorities’

Key aspects of the decision in the economic range:

Common agricultural policy (CAP). The termination, by a municipal authority, of a lease or letting agreement relating to agricultural land and concluded for a period of five years with the beneficiary of agricultural aid, which termination arises further to an amendment to national legislation can constitute ‘force majeure’ or ‘exceptional circumstances’ and ‘expropriation of the holding’. A situation in which the beneficiary of agricultural aid is unable to continue to honour the commitments given as a result of the termination, by a municipal authority, of the lease or letting agreement relating to agricultural land which termination occurs further to an amendment to national legislation.

Definition of ‘force majeure’, ‘exceptional circumstances’, ‘expropriation of the holding’ and ‘reconfiguration and rearrangement of agricultural parcels in order to form more rational agricultural holdings in terms of land use which is decided upon or approved by the competent public authorities’.

Proceedings concerning a decision requiring that that company reimburse 50% of a subsidy received by that company under Measure 211 of the 2007-2013 Rural Development Programme.

С-390/22 of 25 January 2024

Public service contracts — Public service compensation — Parameters for calculating public service compensation — Determination of prior, objective and transparent parameters — Absence of competitive tendering procedure — Application of the rules for calculating compensation contained in the annex to Regulation (EC) No 1370/2007 — Conditions laid down by national legislation for the payment of compensation — Determination of the amount of compensation in the law approving the State budget for the year concerned and payment of that amount to the competent national authority — Setting parameters for calculating compensation by reference to general rules — Concept of „public service contract“

Key aspects of the decision in the economic range:

Mandatory content of public service contracts and general rules. Legislation of a Member State under which compensation paid by the competent authority to a public service operator in connection with the performance of a public service contract may be granted to that operator only if the funds corresponding to that compensation were provided for by the law on the budget of that Member State. Legislation of a Member State which allows the payment by the competent authority of compensation to a public service operator in the performance of a public service contract where the parameters on the basis of which that compensation is calculated are not laid down in that contract but are fixed in advance, in an objective and transparent manner, in general rules which determine the amount of that compensation.

Concept of „public service contract“.

Proceedings between a Municipality and a transport company which holds a public service contract, concerning the compensation payable by that municipality in return for the costs incurred in discharging public service obligations regarding passenger transport by bus.

С-438/22 of 25 January 2024

Competition — Cartels — Setting of minimum fee amounts by a lawyers’ professional organisation — Decision by an association of undertakings — Court prohibited from ordering reimbursement of fees in an amount less than those minimum amounts — Restriction of competition — Quality of the services provided by the lawyers

Key aspects of the decision in the economic range:

Right to the national court to disapply a national regulation, which is fixing minimum amounts for lawyers’ fees, which is made mandatory by national legislation, but is contrary to TFEU. National legislation which, first, does not allow a lawyer and his or her client to agree remuneration in an amount below the minimum amount laid down in a regulation, and, secondly, does not authorise the courts to order reimbursement of fees in an amount less than that minimum amount, must be deemed to constitute a restriction on competition ‘by object’.

Proceedings concerning a claim for compensation under property insurance following the theft of a vehicle, and compensation for delay.

С-722/22 of 25 January 2024

Area of freedom, justice and security — Confiscation of crime-related proceeds, instrumentalities and property — Obligation for Member States to take measures to enable the confiscation of instrumentalities from criminal offences — Vehicle used to transport excise goods without a tax marking in breach of the law — Concept of „instrumentalities“

Key aspects of the decision in the economic range:

Judicial cooperation in criminal matters. Framework Decision on Confiscation of Crime-Related Proceeds, Instrumentalities and Property. A vehicle used to transport excise goods without tax markings in breach of the law constitutes an ‘instrumentality’ of a criminal offence. Principle of conforming interpretation. General principles of law, particularly the principles of legal certainty and non-retroactivity.

Concept of „instrumentalities“.

Proceedings brought ex officio, concerning the confiscation of vehicles used by certain members of an organised crime group, whose convictions have become final, in order to transport excise goods without tax markings in breach of the law.

 

December

 

С-288/22 of 21 December 2023

Common system of value added tax - Taxable persons – Economic activity carried out independently - Activity as a member of the board of directors of a public limited company - Concept of ‘economic activity’ and „transaction effected for consideration“

Key aspects of the decision in the economic range:

Scope of the principle of neutrality of legal form in VAT law. Taxable transactions. The activity of a member of the board of directors of a public limited company under Luxembourg law is not carried out independently.

Concept of ‘economic activity’ and „transaction effected for consideration“.

Proceedings concerning an ex officio tax assessment for the purposes of Value Added Tax, issued by the authority in connection with T’s activity as a member of the board of directors of several public limited companies.

С-340/22 of 21 December 2023

Direct taxation – Freedom of establishment – Introduction of a tax on the liabilities of credit institutions for the purpose of funding the national social security system – Alleged discrimination against branches of foreign credit institutions – Framework for the recovery and resolution of credit institutions and investment firms

Key aspects of the decision in the economic range:

Freedom of establishment in the field of direct taxation. Levy on credit institutions for the purpose of financing social security. Deductions from the tax base available to entities with legal personality. Balanced allocation between the Member States of the power to impose taxes. Tax on the liabilities of credit institutions where the method of calculating that tax is allegedly similar to the method of calculating the contributions paid by such institutions.

Proceedings concerning a request for reimbursement of contributions paid in respect of the additional solidarity tax on the banking sector (‘the ASSB’).

 

January

 

С-379/21 of 17 January 2023

Consumer credit — Refusal to issue an immediate order for payment in the event of a claim based on an unfair term — Consequences relating to the unfairness of a contractual term — Directions from a higher court not observing those consequences

Key aspects of the decision in the economic range:

National court, on receiving an application for an order for payment and where the debtor-consumer does not take part in the proceedings until the order for payment is issued, is obliged to disapply ex officio an unfair term in the consumer credit agreement, on which a part of the claim relied on is based. A national court, called upon to decide a case referred back to it by a higher court, from being bound, in accordance with national procedural law, by legal assessments or directions from that higher court, if it considers, having regard to the interpretation which it has sought from the Court, that those assessments or directions fail to acknowledge the legal consequences arising from the unfair nature of a term of a consumer credit agreement.

Unilateral proceedings with the subject of an application for issuing an order for the immediate fulfillment of a monetary obligation arising from a consumer credit contract concluded between a banking institution and a consumer.


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