European Court of Justice rules against 3G VAT refund

11 Sep 2006

The senior judge at the European Court of Justice has provisionally ruled that 3G mobile auctions which took place in the UK and Austria in 2000 were not liable for value-added tax (VAT). A number of winners in the auctions, including Hutchison Whampoa, which has licences in both countries, had argued that the auctioning of concessions should be liable for VAT, meaning they could attempt to claim back up to 17.5% of the price paid from the country’s regulators. Whilst the decision does not constitute a binding ruling by the European Court of Justice, provisional opinions are usually upheld in around four out of five cases, according to ZDNet. The operators reportedly stood to win up to EUR5 billion (USD6.5 billion) from the claim.

Austria, United Kingdom, CK Hutchison, Hutchison 3G UK (Three UK), Hutchison Drei Austria