Key facts of the case:
- This request for a preliminary ruling concerns the interpretation of Council Directive 77/799/EEC of 19 December 1977 concerning mutual assistance by the competent authorities of the Member States in the field of direct taxation and taxation of insurance premiums (OJ 1977 L 336, p. 15), as amended by Council Directive 2006/98/EC of 20 November 2006 (OJ 2006 L 363, p. 129) (‘Directive 77/799’), considered in the light of fundamental rights.
- The request has been made in proceedings between Mr Sabou, a professional footballer, and Finanční ředitelství pro hlavní město Prahu (Tax Directorate for the City of Prague), concerning the amount of his taxable income for 2004.
Results (sanctions) and key consequences of the case:
The Court (Grand Chamber) hereby rules that:
- European Union law, as it results in particular from Council Directive 77/799/EEC of 19 December 1977 concerning mutual assistance by the competent authorities of the Member States in the field of direct taxation and taxation of insurance premiums, as amended by Council Directive 2006/98/EC of 20 November 2006, and the fundamental right to be heard, must be interpreted as not conferring on a taxpayer of a Member State either the right to be informed of a request for assistance from that Member State addressed to another Member State, in particular in order to verify the information provided by that taxpayer in his income tax return, or the right to take part in formulating the request addressed to the requested Member State, or the right to take part in examinations of witnesses organised by the requested Member State.
- Directive 77/799, as amended by Directive 2006/98, does not govern the question of the circumstances in which the taxpayer may challenge the accuracy of the information conveyed by the requested Member State, and it does not impose any particular obligation with regard to the content of the information conveyed.