EC calls on Spanish government to rethink ‘telecom tax’

28 Sep 2010

The European Commission (EC) has given the Spanish government two months to amend legislation it is planning to introduce which will tax telecoms operators in order to fund Corporacion Radiotelevision Espanola (RTVE), the state-owned public corporation that assumed the indirect management of the Spanish public radio and television service in 2007. According to Europa Press, under the Spanish state’s proposals, a 3% tax on the revenues of free-to-air commercial broadcasters and a 1.5% levy on pay-TV broadcasters is to be introduced, while a 0.9% tax would be imposed on electronic communications operators, with RTVE also given 80% of the current returns from the levy placed on existing radio spectrum, up to a maximum of EUR330 million (USD444 million).

Should the Spanish authorities fail to alter the legislation then the EC is expected to transfer the matter to the Court of Justice in Luxembourg; this most recent request by the European body was made via a reasoned opinion, the second stage of infringement proceedings. European Commissioner for Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes first raised the matter in March 2010, claiming that the proposed taxes were ‘incompatible with EU standards’ and that they seemed to ‘unduly affect telecom operators, may limit investment in new networks and advanced services and ultimately [penalise] customers.’

Spain, Ministry of Economy and Enterprise (MINECO)