Belgian Constitutional Court rules against deductibility of cartel fines from tax income
23/01/2013

In a judgment of 20 December 2012, the Belgian Constitutional Court held that the Belgian tax legislation had to be interpreted in accordance with EU law, which implied that fines imposed by the Commission for infringements of article 101 TFEU were not deductible costs.

Tessenderlo Chemie was the subject matter of a cartel investigation in 2004 and 2006. It made provisions in its accounts for a possible fine. Following a new circular of the Belgian tax authorities, these authorities considered that they could impose taxes on such provisions. Tessenderlo contested this point of view before the court of first instance in Brussels which referred a preliminary reference to the Constitutional Court. The court of first instance wished to know whether there would be a violation of the principle of non-discrimination in the Belgian Constitution when criminal pecuniary sanctions could not be deducted from professional income whereas administrative sanctions, such as fines from EU competition law infringements could. The court also whised to know whether there would be such violation if both pecuniary sanctions were not deductible even though they were of a different nature.

It is interesting that the Commission intervened in the national procedure. Referring to the judgment of the European Court of justice of 11 June 2009 (Case C-429/07, Inspecteur van de Belastingdienst/ X), the Constitutional Court held that the interpretation of the deductibility or not of the Commission’s fine touched upon the effectiveness of EU competition law. On that basis, the Constitutional Court held that the Commission had locus standi to intervene.

The Constitutional Court continued that on the basis of the same judgment, as well as on the basis of the duty of loyal cooperation between the EU and the Member States (as enshrined in Article 4(3) TFEU), it could only conclude that the national tax provision at stake had to be interpreted as meaning that the fines imposed by the Commission for infringements of competition law, were not deductible from professional income. This situation, according to the Constitutional Court, did not lead to a discrimination that would follow from the same treatment of two different categories: criminal sanctions versus administrative sanctions. It was precisely the need for an effective competition policy and the ensuing prohibition to deduct cartel fines, that offered a reasonable explanation of such similar treatment.

Related : Stibbe ( Mr. Hendrik Viaene ,  Mr. Peter Wytinck ,  Mr. Tom Ruys ,  Mrs. Anne-Sophie Stappers )

Mr. Hendrik Viaene Mr. Hendrik Viaene
Partner
hendrik.viaene@stibbe.com
Mr. Peter Wytinck Mr. Peter Wytinck
Partner
peter.wytinck@stibbe.com
Mr. Tom Ruys Mr. Tom Ruys
Associate
tom.ruys@stibbe.com
Mrs. Anne-Sophie Stappers Mrs. Anne-Sophie Stappers
Junior associate
annesophie.stappers@stibbe.com

Click here to see the ad(s)
All articles Constitutional law

Lastest articles Constitutional law

"Geblokstaarte” dieren: verbod deelname aan tentoonstellingen, keuringen of wedstrijden niet on...
28/10/2019

Het Grondwettelijk Hof heeft in een arrest van 24 oktober 2019 uitspraak gedaan over het verbod om met zogenaamde “g...

Read more

Taal in gerechtszaken is en blijft van openbare orde!
30/09/2019

Het Grondwettelijk Hof heeft in een belangwekkend arrest nr. 120/2019 van 19 september 2019 artikel 5 ...

Taal in gerechtszaken is en blijft van openbare orde! Read more

Het Grondwettelijk Hof sanctioneert de schending van inspraakmogelijkheden van burgers inzake nat...
04/10/2016

Op 28 april 2016, heeft het Grondwettelijk Hof uitspraak gedaan (arrest nr. 57/2016) over de beroepen tot nietigverklaring...

Read more

Progress on the Unitary Patent
27/08/2015

On 10 July 2015, the Preparatory Committee (which handles all the subsidiary issues arising from the creation of the Unifi...

Read more

Lastest articles by Mr. Hendrik Viaene

Court of Justice confirms the fine imposed on Toshiba and Panasonic in the cathode ray tubes cartel
17/02/2017

On 18 January 2017, the Court of Justice delivered its judgment on Toshiba's appeal against the General Court'...

Read more

Court of Justice confirms Commission's approach in its first hybrid settlement case
03/02/2017

On 12 January 2017, the Court of Justice fully dismissed the appeal of Timab and its parent company Roullier (the &qu...

Read more

General Court rules on the concept of a single and continuous infringement in the smart card chip...
11/01/2017

On 15 December 2016, the General Court ("GC") dismissed the appeals brought by Infineon and Philips in the smart...

Read more

Belgian Competition Authority confirms that the acquisition by a dominant player of a small compe...
02/01/2017

On 21 November 2016, the Belgian Competition Authority ("BCA") rejected a request for provisional measures by Al...

Read more

Lastest articles by Mr. Peter Wytinck

Agressieve handelspraktijk: het hof van justitie verduidelijkt het begrip
12/09/2019

Het Hof van Justitie werd verzocht om een antwoord te geven op de prejudiciële vraag of het gebruik door een handelaa...

Read more

Beperkte ruimte of tijd in reclame in het kader van overeenkomsten gesloten op afstand
06/09/2019

Walbusch Walter Busch voegde in verschillende tijdschriften en kranten een reclamefolder van zes pagina’s met een af...

Read more

Ontzegelde matras en het herroepingsrecht
29/08/2019

In een arrest van 27 maart 2019 concludeerde het Hof van Justitie dat een matras, waarvan de beschermfolie door de consume...

Read more

Bedrijfsgeheimen en ex-werknemers
23/08/2019

Een vaak voorkomend probleem bij het vertrek van werknemers is de know-how die ze hebben opgebouwd in het bedrijf en meene...

Read more

Lastest articles by Mr. Tom Ruys

Dutch competition authority prohibits in rare decision merger between baking companies and dismis...
21/02/2013

In its decision of 14 December 2012 (Case 7321), the Dutch competition authority ("NMa") concluded that the prop...

Read more

Publication of non-confidential version of commitments in the Universal Music / EMI merger: Unive...
19/02/2013

On 11 January 2013, the European Commission published the non-confidential version of the commitments in the Universal Mus...

Read more

Dutch administrative court rules that provision of a Bachelor programme by an institute for dista...
14/02/2013

On 30 January 2013, the Administrative Jurisdiction Division of the Dutch Council of State (Afdeling Bestuursrechtspraak R...

Read more

European Court of Justice holds that the General Court did not rule ultra petita in Tomkins
12/02/2013

On 22 January 2013, the European Court of Justice ("ECJ") handed down its judgment in the case of the Commission v Tomkins...

Read more

Lastest articles by Mrs. Anne-Sophie Stappers

Credit card companies under scrutiny from competition authorities
30/04/2014

On 26 February 2014, the European Commission rendered the commitments offered by Visa Europe legally binding. These commit...

Read more

General Court dismisses Faci's appeal in heat stabilizers cartel
25/04/2014

On 20 March 2013, the General Court ("GC") handed down its judgment in Case T-46/10 Faci v Commission concerning an appeal...

Read more

General Court ruled that the Commission should allow partial access to documents on inability to pay
21/04/2014

On 20 March 2013 the General Court ("GC") handed down its judgment in Case T-181/10 Reagens v Commission. Reagens appealed...

Read more

The General Court confirmed the Commission's powers of investigation in the cement cartel decisio...
16/04/2014

On 14 March 2014, the General Court ("GC") handed down several appeal judgments on the Commission decisions to request inf...

Read more

LexGO Network