Article 51 - Field of application
‛Directive 77/799/EEC — Mutual assistance by the authorities of the Member States in the field of direct taxation — Exchange of information on request — Tax proceedings — Fundamental rights — Limit on the scope of the obligations of the requesting and the requested Member States towards the taxpayer — No obligation to inform the taxpayer of the request for assistance — No obligation to invite the taxpayer to take part in the examination of witnesses — Taxpayer’s right to challenge the information exchanged — Minimum content of the information exchanged.
Outcome of the case:
On those grounds, the Court (Grand Chamber) hereby rules that:
20) The referring court is unsure whether a taxpayer has a right to take part in exchanges of information between the authorities under Directive 77/799, and is uncertain to what extent fundamental rights, as guaranteed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (‘the Charter’), have any bearing on the existence of that right.
23) As a preliminary point, the European Commission submits that, by its questions relating to the procedural rights of the taxpayer in circumstances where the tax authorities have decided to make use of the mutual assistance procedure under Directive 77/799, the referring court is seeking to determine whether the taxpayer has certain rights under the Charter. According to the Commission, in actual fact those questions concern, in part, the application of the Charter in conjunction with national law, and the Court therefore has no jurisdiction to reply to those questions.
25) First, as regards the Charter, it must be pointed out that, as it came into force on 1 December 2009, it does not apply to the assistance procedure which led to the additional notice of assessment of 28 May 2009.