Commission acts on tax-erring EU members

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission is taking Italy to court over Rome’s failure to apply EU energy tax laws, it said yesterday. Italy has failed to implement EU rules setting minimum tax rates on all energy products, including coal, natural gas and electricity. Rome missed the December 31, 2003 deadline to implement the EU law. The Commission will take a case against Italy to the European Court of Justice which could eventually end in fines if Rome refuses to comply. The Commission has also sent a final warning letter to Italy and Greece over their failure to implement rules allowing EU states to work together to recover taxes and fight fraud. The two states have two months to comply or face court action. Germany also faces a two-month deadline to properly implement the EU energy tax laws or face court action. The Commission has set a two-month deadline for Spain to change three areas of its tax law, including discrimination against non-residents, who have to pay higher income tax and capital gains tax on properties than Spanish residents.

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