Market leading insight for tax experts
View online issue

Minister Finansów v Aspiro SA

printer Mail

In Minister Finansów v Aspiro SA C-40/15 (17 March 2016), the CJEU found that the provision of claim settlement services to insurers did not fall within the insurance exemption (Principal Directive Art 135 (1)(a)).

Aspiro, a Polish company, supplied, on behalf of an insurance company and on the basis of a contact concluded with it, comprehensive services for the settlement of insurance claims. It performed administrative tasks such as damage assessment and correspondence with the insured.

According to the domestic court, Aspiro was not an insurance company, nor an insurance broker, nor an insurance agent. In particular, Aspiro did not have any liability towards insured persons. The issue was whether the services provided by Aspiro fell within the exemption for insurance services. The question was therefore whether the services performed by Aspiro consisted in making ‘insurance transactions’. The CJEU noted that the essentials of an insurance transaction are that the insurer undertakes, ‘in return for payment of a premium, to provide the insured, in the event of materialisation of the risk covered, with the service agreed when the contract was concluded.’

The CJEU found that even though the claim settlement services provided by Aspiro to the insurers formed an essential part of insurance transactions, they did not fall within the exemption.

The CJEU also refused to align the exemption for insurance services with the exemption for financial services - which are interpreted widely. It had found in Taksatorringen (C‑8/01) that the analogy with financial services could not be applied in relation to insurance transactions, emphasising the difference in wording between Article 135(1)(a), which only refers to insurance transactions in the strict sense, and Article 135(1)(d) and (f), which refers to transactions ‘concerning’ or ‘relating to’ certain banking operations.

Read the decision.

Why it matters: The CJEU emphasised that the principle of fiscal neutrality could not extend the scope of an exemption in the absence of clear wording to that effect. It also noted that the existence of a proposal presented by the Commission to the Council for the extension of the insurance exemption (COM(2007) 747 final) was irrelevant until the proposal had been adopted. 


Categories: Cases