The first court case to be heard by the European Court of Justice following the publication of EC internal market commissioner Frits Bolkestein’s communication on tax for cross-border pension arrangements, could take up to two years to be resolved, according to the Finnish courts.
The Administrative Court in the Finnish city of Kuopio (Kuopion Hallinto-oikeus) has referred the appeal case of German-born Rolf Dieter Danner to the ECJ.
The case in Denmark, cited by Bolkestein in The Hague, is still being dealt with by the Commission and has not yet reached the stage of going to the ECJ.
The Finnish case examines whether the restriction in Finnish income tax law (Tuloverolaki) to deduct for tax purposes pension insurance contributions payable from Finland to a foreign institution is contrary to an article of the EC treaty.
As Bolkestein notes, the basis for the case by Danner concerns contributions to a non-Finnish pension fund, which were not getting the same fiscal treatment as if they had been contributed to a Finnish scheme.
The reference for the case, C-136/00, was made to the ECJ last year, but according to Risto Hakkarainen at the Kuopio Administrative Court, says it could be some time before any action is taken: “The case is over there for referral, it was sent to them last year, and it often takes a year or even two to get a reply.”
The clauses referred to in the appeal are paragraph 96(9) of the Finnish income tax law, and article 59 of the EC Treaty (now article 49 EC) and Articles 6, 60, 73b, 73d and 92 of the EC treaty, which are now Articles 12, 50, 56, 58 and 87 EC.