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Turnover-based Taxes in EU State Aid Control: The ‘Hypothecation Test’ and Its Relationship with Free Movement · Cases C-75/18 Vodafone Magyarország, C-323/18 Tesco-Global Áruházak and C‑482/18 Google Ireland · Annotation by Irene Agnolucci journal article

Annotation on the Judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union (Grand Chamber) of 3 March 2020 in Cases C-75/18 Vodafone Magyarország, C-323/18 Tesco-Global Áruházak and C‑482/18 Google Ireland

Irene Agnolucci

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 19 (2020), Issue 2, Page 193 - 198

The turnover-based taxes imposed by Hungary on Vodafone, Tesco and Google are found not to be State aid by the CJEU. Indeed, the Court states that a taxpayer cannot rely on the argument that the exemption enjoyed by other taxpayers constitutes State aid, in order not to pay a tax. Nevertheless, instead of relying on the criteria enshrined in Article 107 TFEU, in order to constitutes State aid the relevant test to pass is whether a tax is directly hypothecated to an aid measure. Furthermore, the three judgments touch upon the relationship between State aid control and the free movement provisions. Although the issue is not openly addressed by the Court, the two sets of rules are analysed concurrently rather than alternatively. As for the analysis on the free movement, the Court finds that the establishment of a steeply progressive tax does not discriminate per se between home companies and the ones established abroad and thus the Hungarian law complies with EU law.

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