Energy tax rebate in Austria
It must be noted with respect to the Austrian energy tax rebate that the Austrian Federal Finance Court (Bundesfinanzgericht) directed a request for a preliminary ruling to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) (BFG 10/31/2014, RE/5100001/2014). The amendment of the Austrian Energy Tax Rebate Act (Energieabgabenvergütungsgesetz) by means of the 2011 Austrian Budget Accompanying Act (Budgetbegleitgesetz – BBG 2011), which applies to periods after December 31, 2010, limited the energy tax rebate to manufacturing companies. Subsequently, the question of whether this restriction, which may be deemed state aid, violated EU law was submitted to the ECJ for a preliminary ruling; the Court responded in the affirmative (ECJ 7/21/2016, docket no. C-493/14, Dilly’s Wellnesshotel GmbH). As a result, the restrictions pursued by the BBG 2011 did not enter into force with legal effect and service providers, in particular, thus can retroactively claim the energy tax rebate for periods after February 1, 2011. In its subsequent ruling, the Austrian Federal Finance Court held that the restriction to manufacturing companies did not take effect. The Appeals Division of the Tax Office appealed this decision to the Higher Administrative Court, which in September 2017 (decision dated 9/14/2017, EU 2017/0005 and 0006-1) again sought recourse with the ECJ. The decision of the ECJ dated November 14, 2019 (ECJ 11/14/2019, docket no. C-585/17, Dilly’s Wellnesshotel II) thus affirms that the limitation to manufacturing companies imposed by the BBG 2011 was put in place in ways consonant with European Union law. It remains to be seen how the Higher Administrative Court (docket no. Ro 2016/15/0041 dated 9/14/2017) will rule in its final decision. No adverse impact is anticipated for the voestalpine Group.
The pandemic may cause individual jurisdictions to take a variety of statutory steps that will affect production parameters and the respective Group companies’ ability to act in economic terms.