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2. 10.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 304/61

18 February 1998 the Commission adopted a proposal for a European Parliament and Council directive on the
approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the noise emission by equipment used outdoors (2).
Early in 1999 the Commission expects to adopt a proposal for a framework directive on environmental noise.
This will require harmonisation of aspects such as perception of effects, mathematical computation, monitoring
and measurements, the mapping of noise, and abatement plans.

A major conference is planned for May 1998, in Copenhagen at which the Parliament has been invited to be
represented. Draft terms of reference of working groups have already been widely circulated.

(1) COM(96) 540 final.

(2) COM(98) 46.

(98/C 304/85) OnWRITTEN QUESTION E-0251/98

by Marco Cellai (NI) to the Commission
(13 February 1998)

Subject: Taxation of companies’ net assets

In compliance with the principle that capital contributions or the raising of capital may not be taxed more than
once in the European Community so as not to create barriers to the free movement of capital, Article 1 of
Directive 69/335/EEC (1) of 17 July 1969 requires harmonization of taxation of contributions of capital to capital
companies. The directive stipulates that Member States may not apply taxes on the raising of capital by such
companies apart from capital duty, the rate of which, following the amendment introduced by Article 1 of
Directive 73/80/EEC (2) of 18 April 1973, may not exceed 1% (Article 10 of Directive 69/335/EEC).

Under Italian regulations, capital duty (the only tax allowed by the Community legislation referred to above) is
represented by the registration tax on capital contributions other than contributions of property rights: this tax is
charged at the rate of 1%. The tax on the net assets of companies thus comes on top of this registration tax and has
been applied at the rate of an additional 0.75% to the equity capital at the financial year end, year after year
despite the fact that it is neither exceptional or temporary in nature.

The tax thus has an equivalent effect equivalent to that of the ordinary capital duty and as such is in breach of the
provisions of Article 10 of Directive 69/335/EEC of 17 July 1969.

The approach consistently adopted under national and Community case law on non-compliance of this kind
would require the regulations on the tax on the net assets of companies to be repealed immediately and with
retroactive effect, without any need for intervention by the legislator. On these grounds, many Italian companies
have applied to the Ministry of Finance for the refund of amounts wrongly paid in respect of the tax on net assets
of companies together with accrued interest.

Does the Commission not consider that it should remind the Italian Government of its duty to amend the relevant
legislation and introduce new provisions without delay?

(1) OJ L 249, 3.10.1969, p. 25.

(2) OJ L 103, 18.4.1973, p. 13.

Answer given by Mr Monti on behalf of the Commission

(8 April 1998)

The Commission is conducting a detailed investigation of the problem raised by the Honourable Member and
will inform him of the outcome as soon as possible.