CE Sect. 2 December 2016, Company Export Press

A tax ruling is a formal statement by the authorities of their position on a factual situation with regard to a tax text in response to a written, precise and complete application made by a taxpayer acting in good faith.

  • When a formal position is favourable for a taxpayer, nothing changes: under the combined provisions of articles L. 80 A (1) and L. 80 B of the tax procedures’ guide, this position is enforceable on the tax authorities: it thus provides a guarantee mechanism to the benefit of the taxpayer against a possible change of position and an ensuing tax adjustment.
  • But when a formal position is unfavourable to a taxpayer and its enforcement would significantly affect his economic situation, a direct appeal for ultra vires is now made available for him against this position by the judgment in Company Export Press. The relevance of this new legal remedy, created with a view to ensuring legal certainty, can be summarized as follows: prevention (by means of an early appeal for ultra vires) is better than cure (by means of a late comprehensive appeal).