The European Commission says that it has decided to refer France and Spain to the EU's Court of Justice because they continue to impose specific charges on the turnover of telecoms operators in breach of EU law. The charges in France and Spain were introduced to compensate for the loss of revenue from paid advertising on public TV channels.The Commission considers the 'telecoms taxes' in France and Spain to be incompatible with EU telecoms rules, which require specific charges on telecoms operators to be directly related to covering the costs of regulating the telecoms sector. The Commission requested the French and Spanish authorities in October 2010 to put an end to these 'telecoms taxes, but they are still in place.
The French charge on telecoms operators was introduced in March 2009 after the decision was taken by the French Government to end paid advertising on public TV channels. This charge is imposed on telecoms operators authorised to provide services in France. They pay 0.9% of their total revenues exceeding EUR5 million received from subscribers. The annual revenue from the new charge, which has been paid to the French Treasury, is estimated at EUR400 million. Operators that are subject to the tax having been paying it in monthly instalments since its introduction.
A law on financing the Spanish public broadcaster RTVE entered into force in September 2009 and imposed a charge of 0.9% on the gross revenues of telecoms operators to make up for the loss of revenue from paid advertising this broadcaster. In October 2010, telecoms operators made the first payments to CMT, the national telecoms regulator. The charge was expected to generate revenue of around EUR230 million in 2010.
Source: Cellular News