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Lessons from Portuguese case on exit taxes

Article 49 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union prohibits restrictions on the freedom of establishment within the EU. The consistency with this of exit charges imposed by Member States has been under scrutiny in recent years and in 2008 the European Commission issued a reasoned opinion to Portugal requesting amendment of its exit tax rules on the basis that these contravened Article 49. Portugal’s refusal ultimately led to last month’s victory for the Commission at the CJEU.

The start of this story may have a familiar ring to it because in March this year the Commission issued another reasoned opinion requesting a Member State to amend its exit tax provisions – this time the UK. The infringement proceedings against Portugal provide an indication of how the UK provisions...

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