The European Commission has requested Spain to amend its discriminatory tax rules for foreign dividends. These are dividends distributed by a non-resident company to a Spanish company.
The tax treatment for foreign dividends is more burdensome compared to that of domestic dividends (i.e. dividends distributed by companies resident in Spain). For example, a Spanish company which invests in a non-resident company must fulfil more conditions (for example related to volume of income and level of shareholder participation) than for a domestic investment if it wants to benefit from the tax break. In other cases, the tax advantage foreseen for domestic dividends is not available for foreign dividends. The Commission considers that this regime is incompatible with the right of establishment, the freedom to provide services, the cross-border supply of goods and the free movement of capital as set out in the EU Treaties. The request takes the form of a reasoned opinion. In the absence of a satisfactory response within two months, the Commission may refer the matter to the European Court of Justice.