The Netherlands Ordered to Scrap Tax Breaks for Its Seaports

Image Courtesy: Port of Rotterdam

The European Commission has required the Netherlands to abolish an exemption from corporate tax for its six seaports so as to align the regime with EU state aid rules.

The Commission has also proposed in two separate decisions that Belgium and France align their taxation of ports with state aid rules.

“Ports are key infrastructure for economic growth and regional development. I will soon present a proposal to facilitate unproblematic investments in ports that can create jobs, to exempt them from scrutiny under EU state aid rules. At the same time, the Commission’s decisions today (January 21st) regarding the Netherlands, Belgium and France make clear that if port operators generate profits from economic activities these should be taxed under the normal national tax laws to avoid distortions of competition,” Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, stated.

The Dutch Finance Ministry voiced its disappointment with the EU decision to remove the exemptions for its seaports, including the Europe’s largest port, namely Rotterdam.

As explained, the decision puts Dutch seaports at a disadvantage and the EU Commission should undertake structural measures to ensure fair competition between EU seaports.

The Commission asked the Netherlands in May 2013 to abolish provisions exempting certain public companies, including port operators, from corporate tax, fearing that they may result in undue advantages over their competitors. In July 2014, the Commission opened an in-depth investigation.

On 4 June 2015, the Netherlands adopted a law making public undertakings subject to corporate tax as of 1 January 2016. However, the law maintained a tax exemption for six publicly-owned Dutch seaports, namely Groningen Seaports, Havenbedrijf Amsterdam, Havenbedrijf Rotterdam, Havenschap Moerdijk, Port of Den Helder and Zeeland Seaports.

The Netherlands now has two months to take the necessary steps to remove the exemption in order to ensure that from 1 January 2017 the six ports are subject to the same corporate taxation rules.

Image Courtesy: Port of Antwerp
Image Courtesy: Port of Antwerp

In Belgium, a number of sea and inland waterway ports, notably the ports of Antwerp, Bruges, Brussels, Charleroi, Ghent, Liège, Namur and Ostende, as well as along the canals in Hainaut Province and Flanders are exempt from the general corporate income tax regime. These ports are subject to a different tax regime, with a different base and tax rates, resulting in an overall lower level of taxation for Belgian ports as compared to other companies active in Belgium.

Most French ports, notably the 11 “grands ports maritimes” of Bordeaux, Dunkerque, La Rochelle, Le Havre, Marseille, Nantes – Saint-Nazaire and Rouen as well as Guadeloupe, Guyane, Martinique and Réunion, the Port autonome de Paris, and ports operated by chambers of industry and commerce, are fully exempt from corporate income tax.

The Commission said that in both Belgium and France, the existing regimes provide the ports with a selective advantage that may breach EU state aid rules.

Share this article

Follow World Maritime News

In Depth>

Events>

<< Nov 2017 >>
MTWTFSS
30 31 1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 1 2 3

Maritime Information Warfare 2017

Maritime Information Warfare will focus on the growing need for navies to develop their information exploitation capabilities…

read more >

INTERNATIONAL GREEN SHIPPING AND TECHNOLOGY SUMMIT

The Summit will gather key marine experts and companies around the globe which have a big influence in the industry…

read more >

The CWC 18th Annual World LNG Summit & Awards Evening

The CWC World LNG Summit will continue to give you access to premium networking opportunities as it brings together the who’s who…

read more >

Marintec China 2017

The largest maritime event in Asia Pacific, Marintec China connects maritime professionals from the entire shipbuilding supply chain together.

Over the years, Marintec China has grown to reflect the size and importance of the Asian maritime market. 2015 event is another record-breaking edition with the largest exhibition area and the highest number of industry professionals attending ever. The encouraging figures proven that China remains one of the major shipbuilding nations and Marintec China has been the most authoritative platform in Asia.

With the maritime industry facing great opportunities but also many challenges, it is important for the industry to connect and engage more to ultimately win new business in globally-significant markets. A visit to Marintec China is a great way to learn about the latest technology and innovation of the supply industry, a platform for industry professional to meet face to face, make connection and do business.

Marintec China is poised to be the definitive event and is undoubtedly a must-attend for all involved in the maritime industry.

Marintec China will be held from 5 to 8 December 2017 at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre in Shanghai, China and continue its dedication to serve as the “LEADING” platform “CONNECTING” the community and “STRENGTHENING” the maritime industry.

Marintec China offers the perfect opportunity for companies serving the maritime market to showcase their innovations, products and services to a wide audience. A platform for face to face meetings in business, creating new relationships and consolidating existing ones.

More info

read more >