The Netherlands imposes a 0.8% tax on wealth. Residents of the Netherlands and people not living in the country but who inherit there are eligible for this tax. Dutch legislation nevertheless distinguishes between these two categories.
In the case of residents, the taxable base is calculated relative to their global inheritance minus their national debts. For non-residents, the taxable base is calculated according to the value of their wealth situated in the Netherlands minus their debts in that country. A rebate in favour of residents is however foreseen which only applies to non-residents who hold 90% of their wealth in the Netherlands.
The case in question concerns a German citizen who has only 10% of his wealth invested in property in the Netherlands. The rest of his wealth is in Germany, where there is no wealth tax. The Dutch tax inspector rejected the German's request for a rebate.
As far as the ECJ judges were concerned, a member state is entitled to "not grant" the same fiscal advantages to non-residents as to residents, since the two have completely different situations. Moreover, if the person in question...