Spain must recover state aid granted under a tax lease scheme which allowed shipping companies to benefit from rebates of up to 30% on the price of vessels built by Spanish shipyards, according to a new ruling by the Luxembourg-based General Court.
The ruling by the EU’s second higher court follows the decision of a higher court in 2018 to scrap its 2015 judgment annulling the European Commission’s decision against the Spanish scheme and told it to re-examine the case, Reuters reported.
To remind, the Spanish Tax Lease System came under scrutiny in 2006 after some companies complained to the EU competition enforcer that they had lost out in shipbuilding contracts due to the scheme.
Subsequently, the Commission ruled against the scheme, saying that it gave a selective advantage to some companies. The General Court on Wednesday agreed with the Commission’s reasoning.
The Spanish tax system applicable to certain finance lease agreements entered into by shipyards constitutes an aid scheme. The unlawful state aid granted under that system must be recovered from the beneficiaries,