Wednesday, September 29, 2010

European Commission Rules Against Public TV Telecom Taxes in France, Spain

The European Commission requested France and Spain to abolish new taxes recently implemented on telecom operators to support public TV channels.


In France, a new charge on telecoms operators was introduced in March 2009 after the decision was taken by the French Government to end paid advertising on public TV channels. Telecom operators must pay 0.9% of their total revenues exceeding €5 million received from subscribers. The annual revenue from the new charge, which is paid to the French Treasury, is estimated at around €400 million.


In Spain, a new law imposed in September 2009 imposed a charge of 0.9% on the gross revenues of telecoms operators to make up for the loss of revenue from paid advertising on the Spanish national public broadcaster. A limited number of operators were exempted from paying this charge based on the geographical scope and the type of telecoms services they provide. The charge is expected to generate revenue of around €230 million in 2010.


In both cases, the Commission considers these "telecoms taxes" to be incompatible with EU telecoms rules, which require specific charges on telecoms operators to be specifically and directly related to covering the costs of regulating the telecoms sector. The requests take the form of "reasoned opinions" under EU infringement procedures. France and Spain now have two months to inform the Commission of measures taken to comply with EU telecoms rules. If they fail to do so, the Commission may refer them to the EU Court of Justice.
http://www.europa.eu

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