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EU to Belgium, France: Abolish tax exemptions for Ports

The European Commission has asked
Belgium and France to abolish the corporate tax exemptions granted to their
ports, so as to align their tax regime with EU state aid rules.

In Belgium, a number of sea and
inland waterway ports, notably the ports of Antwerp, Bruges, Brussels,
Charleroi, Ghent, Liège, Namur and Ostend, as well as along the canals in
Hainaut Province and Flanders, are exempt under Belgian law from the general
corporate income tax regime.

These ports are subject to a
different tax regime, with a different taxable base and tax rates, resulting in
an overall lower level of taxation for Belgian ports as compared to other
companies in Belgium.
Most French ports, notably the 11
“grands ports maritimes” of Bordeaux, Dunkerque, La Rochelle, Le Havre,
Marseille, Nantes-Saint-Nazaire, Rouen, Guadeloupe, Guyane, Martinique and
Réunion, as well as the Port autonome de Paris, and ports operated by chambers
of industry and commerce, are fully exempt from corporate income tax under
French law.
The Commission said it considers that
the corporate tax exemptions granted to Belgian and French ports “provide
them with a selective advantage, in breach of EU state aid rules.”
Belgium and France
now have until the end of 2017 to take the necessary steps to remove the tax
exemption in order to ensure that all ports are subject to the same corporate
taxation rules as other companies from January 1, 2018.

Credit: World Maritime
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