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CJEU - C 122/15 / Opinion

Preliminary Ruling Request from the Finnish Administrative Court

Policy area:
Taxation
Deciding Body type:
Court of Justice of the European Union
Deciding Body:
Advocate General
Type:
Opinion
Decision date:
28/01/2016

Key facts of the case:

  1. The present case may open a new chapter in the influence of EU law on the income tax legislation of the Member States. In the context of a reference from the highest Finnish administrative court, the Court is asked to answer the important question of whether the prohibition of age discrimination laid down in EU law also affects national income tax legislation.
  2. For it is that prohibition that is being relied on by a Finnish taxpayer who is subject to a supplementary tax levied in Finland exclusively on income from retirement pensions. Is the EU-law prohibition of discrimination on the ground of age, which is governed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and a directive, applicable at all in such a case and, if so, does it prevent a Member State from imposing a higher rate of taxation on retirement pension income?
  3. The question of whether the EU-law prohibition of age discrimination is applicable to the income tax legislation of the Member States forms the subject-matter of another case currently pending before the Court. Although that case, originating in the Netherlands, concerns an entirely different provision of income tax law, it nevertheless underscores the importance of the guidance which the Court is called upon to provide in the present case.

Results (sanctions) and key consequences of the case:

  1. In the light of all the foregoing, the answer to the questions referred by the Korkein hallinto-oikeus (Supreme Administrative Court) should be as follows: 

National legislation such as Paragraph 124(1) and (4) of the Finnish Law on income tax, which provides for a supplementary tax on pension income, is not to be assessed by reference to the EU-law prohibition of discrimination on the ground of age as laid down in Article 21(1) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and in Directive 2000/78/EC.