The European Commission has concluded in a "preliminary" way that the tax system of Spain with its ports represents a tax advantage. Brussels claims that it applies the corporation tax to these infrastructures, since the exemption is "a selective advantage that can violate the European Union's rules" on State aid. "
"In order to guarantee fair competition throughout the EU, ports that generate benefits from their economic activities must be taxed in the same way that other economic operators, neither more nor less," defended the Competition Commissioner , Margrethe Vestager.
The Port of Barcelona earns 50 million euros and is the fastest growing European port
The Commissioner recalled that "ports are key infrastructures for economic growth and regional development" and that is why European standards give "a broad margin" to the States to invest. Even so, he has asked Spain and Italy to demand the corporate tax in their ports as of January 1, 2020 and give them two months to modify the relevant regulations.
The main sources of revenue for ports in Spain are port rates and rental agreements for their facilities. All of these revenues are exempt from paying corporation tax in Spain, while in the Basque Country, as in Italy, the ports are totally exempt from paying the tax.