ECJ-TF Opinion Statement 3/2017 on the judgment of the Court of Justice of the EU in Case C-682/15, Berlioz Investment Fund SA

This is an Opinion Statement prepared by the CFE ECJ Task Force on the Case C-682/15, Berlioz Investment Fund SA, in which the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) delivered its judgment on 16 May 2017, following the Opinion of Advocate General Wathelet of 10 January 2017.

The case concerned the levying of tax penalties for the partial refusal by a third party to provide the Luxembourg tax authorities with information requested, by way of of mutual assistance under Directive 2011/16, by the French tax authorities.

Having clarified that when exchanging information by way of mutual assistance under an EU Directive, EU Member States are implementing European Union Law, the Grand Chamber confirmed the right to judicially review the levying of penalties and acknowledged Berlioz’s legal standing to challenge the foreseeable relevance of information requested by one tax authority of another to exchange by way of mutual assistance. When reviewing the legality of the request in this context, the judiciary will ascertain whether manifestly irrelevant information is being requested, without necessarily informing the taxpayer of the detail.