The German Constitutional Court held that the rules for curtailment of loss relief on change of shareholders to be in breach of the formal provisions of the constitution under the principle of equal treatment insofar as changes of more than 25% and up to 50% of the shares in a company within a period of five years are concerned.
Tax & Legal
Under certain conditions, changes in shareholders and the admission of new investors will in future be possible without giving rise to a forfeiture of losses carried-forward. On 23 December 2016 the Act for the Further Development of Tax Loss Utilisation for Corporations was published after having been adopted by the German Parliament (Bundestag and Bundesrat) on 20 December 2016.
The new law dealing with relief scenarios to allow for a continued utilization of losses, i. e. in cases where the business operation does not change, is now under way and will be finally dealt with by the Bundesrat before year end.
The present curtailment of loss relief on changes of shareholders shall be modified to allow for a continued utilization of losses, provided the business operation does not change. The German government has taken the initiative and – for this purpose – agreed on a draft law. The respective draft was published on September 14, 2016.
The advocate general on an ECJ case on special case exemption from a loss curtailment provision has suggested the court hold the exemption rule to be of pre-accession provenance and thus not to be disapplied as unauthorised state aid unless and until the Commission has come to that conclusion on the basis of a properly completed formal proceeding.