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Supreme Court of Denmark

Claim for refund was time-barred 

Case no. 190/2017

Judgment delivered on 13 September 2018

Case no. 190/2017

The Danish Ministry of Taxation

Time limitation of claim for refund according to Danish law was not in contravention of the EU law principle of effectiveness

In 1998, SKAT (the Danish tax authorities) repaid approx. DKK 100 million to TDC A/S, because TDC had been charged labour market contribution (ambi) in contravention of EU law in the period from 1988 to 1991. After the European Court of Justice’s judgment in another case on refund of ambi, TDC made a claim for refund of another DKK 362 million against SKAT. SKAT rejected the claim on the grounds that it was time-barred.

The issue before the Supreme Court was whether the limitation period under Danish law was suspended pursuant to the EU principle of effectiveness. Another issue was whether there was basis for referring a question for a preliminary ruling to the European Court of Justice.

Based on the grounds cited by the High Court, the Supreme Court agreed that there was no reasonable doubt as to the interpretation of the EU principle of effectiveness in relation to the application of the Danish rules on limitation in this case that justified referring questions to the European Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling.

Also based on the grounds cited by the High Court, the Supreme Court further upheld the assessment that the period of limitation of TDC’s claim had not been suspended under the principle of effectiveness, and that the claim was thus time-barred.

The High Court had reached the same conclusion.

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