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EU Commission asks France to Apply the same Rules for Dividend Withholding Tax Refunds to French and European Investors — Orbitax Tax News & Alerts

According to the September infringements package: key decisions, issued 24 September 2015, the EU Commission has asked France to amend its rules regarding the refund of excess tax withheld on dividends to non-residents.


The Commission has asked France to comply with the procedural rules when it refunds to non-residents the tax deducted at source which was not due on dividends.

Current tax provisions require non-resident taxpayers who have invested in companies established in France to provide proof of payment by the French paying agent of the amount deducted from dividends when they apply for reimbursement of the part not due. In the event of a complaint, non-residents are allowed less time to make their application, as their starting point is the time when the amount is deducted on distribution of the dividends, whereas for taxpayers resident in France it is the time the tax notice is received.

The Commission believes that these provisions give rise to disproportionate procedures contrary to the principles of equivalence and effectiveness on which the Court of Justice of the EU bases its case-law regarding the reimbursement of payments not due ( C-310/09, Accor SA). According to the Court, the procedural provisions of a Member State must not make it impossible or excessively difficult to repay tax levied contrary to European Law.

The French authorities are asked to amend the rules in question.

The request is addressed in the form of a reasoned opinion and the French authorities have two months to notify the Commission of the measures taken in order to correctly apply European principles. Failing this the Commission may decide to refer France to the Court of Justice of the EU.