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Parliamentary questions
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22 October 2007
E-5208/07
WRITTEN QUESTION E-5208/07
by Adriana Poli Bortone (UEN) , Sergio Berlato (UEN) , Romano Maria La Russa (UEN) , Umberto Pirilli (UEN) and Salvatore Tatarella (UEN)
to the Commission

 Subject: Tax concessions to ‘prevalently mutual’ cooperatives
 Answer in writing 

In Italy, ‘prevalently mutual’ cooperatives enjoy preferential tax treatment both for indirect taxes (VAT, INVIM (tax on the appreciation of real estate) and registration duty) and especially for direct corporate income taxes (IRPEG and IRES), under Presidential Decree No 601/73, Title III, and Act No 112 of 15 July 2002.

Cooperatives, despite being ‘prevalently mutual’ often operate in fields other than the social/health field and have enormous turnovers (in 2006 the cooperatives operating in the supermarket sector achieved sales figures of EUR 11.8 billion).

In the Reggio Emilia region there is a ‘longstanding tradition’ of the interests of cooperatives and left-wing political parties coinciding.

Under Act No 231 of 2001, the Italian Government excluded those cooperatives from the scope of Article 18 (concerning labour law), thereby making it possible, in practice, for employees to be dismissed even without just cause.

Legal proceedings are already under way between the Italian Government and the European Commission.

In the light of the above, can the Commission state:

1. whether all these concessions do not infringe competition law;
2. whether the cooperatives have ever provided a cohesive explanation in respect of their activities and the tax breaks from which they benefit;
3. whether it would not be appropriate to introduce measures banning and excluding those cooperatives from the market owing to the unfair competitive advantage they enjoy?

Original language of question: ITOJ C 191, 29/07/2008
Juridisks paziņojums - Privātuma politika