An in-depth investigation to assess whether Port Network Authorities should be subject to the taxation in force for companies and whether the tax exemptions these entities have benefited from up to now should be considered unlawful State aid.
The European Commission does not intend to make concessions to Italy. After warning our country, last January, inviting it to align its port taxation system with EU regulations, the Commission has gone a step further with a confrontation that promises to be tough and that could result in the opening of infringement proceedings against Rome.
For Brussels, the commercial exploitation of port infrastructure, such as, for example, granting access to the port in return for payment, is an economic activity which Port Authorities should pay taxes on like all other companies that make a profit.
The Commission which, in the meantime, welcomed Spain’s commitment, from 2020 onwards, to abolish the tax exemption that Spanish ports benefit from, does not share the view expressed by the Italian Government so far.
For Rome, Port Network Authorities are non-economic public bodies and therefore cannot be considered as companies engaged in commercial activities. Hence the opening of the investigation by Brussels.
Translation by Giles Foster