Pursuant to the EU Council Directive 2015/121 (the “Directive”), all Member States were required to adopt new provisions implementing a general anti-avoidance rule (“GAAR”) to prevent abusive tax planning structures aimed at benefitting from the participation exemption regime foreseen in the Parent Subsidiary Directive.
In 2015, the Portuguese Parliament passed Law no. 18/2015, which reviewed the legal framework of venture capital and established, for the first time, the rules of social entrepreneurship and specialised alternative investment in Portugal, by partially transposing Directives no. 2011/61/EU and 2013/14/EU, and assuring the enforcement of EU Regulations no. 345/2013 and 346/2013 in the Portuguese legal system.
Ensuring adequate transparency and protection for investors is, without a doubt, fundamental to the smooth operation of the financial markets. This is one of the aims of the recent reforms of the regulation applicable to the Spanish Alternative Stock Market (“Mercado Alternativo Bursátil” or “MAB”), which entered into force on 9 March 2016. Not only did the reforms tighten the rules governing the MAB, but they made them more similar to the standards of official secondary markets. A number of the amendments affect growth companies and real estate investment trusts (“SOCIMI” in Spanish terminology), specifically the changes introduced by the MAB Circulars 6/2016 and 7/2016, of 5 February 2016.
The General Council of the Judiciary is in the process of rolling out Transparency Portals in the High Courts of Justice of the 17 autonomous communities. This initiative is being undertaken in accordance with the Bill of Citizens’ Rights to Justice, which was unanimously passed by the Working Group of the Monitoring Committee of the Government Pact for the Reform of the Justice System signed on 28 May, 2001 – representatives from the various parliamentary groups and the Ministry of Justice were involved in its adoption.
The approval of the non-habitual tax resident regime in 2009 is another reason why Portugal has become a premium destination for foreigners. This regime allows foreigners to benefit from zero per cent taxation on the majority of foreign-sourced passive income – capital gains from real estate assets, dividends, interests, immovable property income, royalties, and private retirement pensions, as long as certain conditions are met.
By virtue of a recent Resolution dated 11 December, 2015, the Spanish Supreme Court has clarified an existing legislative gap deriving from the current insufficient regulation of corporate groups in Spain.
By means of its ruling on March 14, 2013, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) had the opportunity to rule on the shortcomings of the Spanish justice system as it relates to the interpretation of Council Directive 93/13/EEC and establish the guidelines that the national court should follow to determine the unfairness of clauses in mortgage loan contracts concluded with consumers.