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European Law and the Spanish Tax System, an in-depth assessment

In keeping with the Foundation’s proven interest in international taxation, this project was completed during 2022 and 2023, and the end document titled “European Law and the Spanish tax system, an in-depth assessment”  was published in October 2023, coinciding with Spain’s six-month presidency of the Council  of the European Union.

In carrying out this project, the usual group of professionals from the firms on the Board of Trustees, coordinated on this occasion by PwC, was joined by important representatives from academia, such as Mr Aitor Navarro Ibarrola (Universidad Carlos III), Mr Andrés Báez Moreno (Universidad Carlos III), Ms Gemma Patón García (Universidad de Castilla La Mancha) and Ms Saturnina Moreno González (Universidad de Castilla La Mancha),  a highly experienced functionary from DG TAXUD of the European Commission, Mr Juan López Rodríguez  and a lawyer from the Constitutional Court, Mr Juan Ignacio Moreno Fernández.

This comprehensive list of collaborators allowed for an ambitious review of the subject matter of the study which, although not purporting  to be an integrated analysis of all the matters raised, addressed those issues which have been considered of most interest in relation to:

  • Part one: “Positive harmonisation” -in indirect and direct taxation, as well as in relation to information obligations and dispute resolution mechanisms -, (Chapters I to VII).
  • Part two:  “Instruments of negative harmonisation”– State Aid and Basic Freedoms -, (Chapter VIII).
  • Part three  “General framework of European Law and Spanish Tax Law” , paying attention to the fundamental rights of EU taxpayers, and some solutions for Spanish tax law consistent with the principles of European Law, (Chapters IX and  X).
  • Part four:  “Impact on tax regulatory competence”,  referencing the State legislator’s role as both a proponent and transposer, as well as the impact of European Law on the tax regulatory competence of the Autonomous Regions and other territorial authorities, (Chapter  XI).
  • Part five “Application of European Law in Spain”, which combines some general considerations on the application of European Law by the Economic-Administrative Tribunals and the jurisdictional courts, with a reflection on the recovery of taxes contrary to European Law, (Chapter XII)

All this is complemented by Chapter XIII- written by PwC, as the project coordinator- , which attempts to reflect the main conclusions and proposals set forth in the individual chapters, together with the overall assessment of the relationship between European Law and the Spanish tax system.

The study was completed with a prologue which takes a holistic view of the subject and provides the views of Mr Jorge Ferreras Gutiérrez, financial advisor, coordinator of Spain’s Permanent Representation to the EU  and Mr Fernando Serrano Antón (Universidad Complutense of Madrid) and Mr Juan Jorge Piernas López (Universidad de Murcia), university professors with Jean Monet chairs, on the orientation and outlook for European Tax Law. 

Note: At the time of disseminating this work, it is appropriate to recall the financing support received for the project from several companies that signed Collaboration Agreements with the Foundation, namely: ABERTIS, REPSOL, SANTANDER and TELEFONICA