The European Commission refers Spain to the Court of Justice over discriminatory inheritance and gift tax rules

17 November 2011

The European Commission has decided, 27 October 2011, to refer Spain to the EU’s Court of Justice for discriminatory rules on inheritance and gift tax that require non-residents to pay higher taxes than residents.

Inheritance and gift tax in Spain are regulated at both state and autonomous community level. The autonomous communities’ legislation grants residents a number of tax benefits, more noticeably so in Madrid, Catalonia and Valencia.

The Commission considers that this discriminatory tax treatment constitutes an obstacle to the free movement of people and capital, fundamental principles of the EU’s single market, and is in breach of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

The Commission had already formally requested Spain to take action to ensure compliance with the EU rules in regard to inheritance and gift tax provisions on 5 May 2010 and once again on 17 February 2011. However, no amendments have been made to Spanish legislation on the matter.

For further information, please contact María Blanco: