The ECJ’s Decisions in the Danish “Beneficial Ownership” Cases: Impact on the Reaction to Tax Avoidance in the European Union

This article provides a critical analysis of the long-awaited Danish beneficial ownership cases, delivered by the Court of Justice of the European Union in February 2019, concerning the prevention of tax avoidance/tax abuse in respect of the Parent-Subsidiary Directive and the Interest and Royalties Directive. The author discusses one of the aspects of the concerned decisions that is an attempt of the Court to clarify that the “abuse of rights” concept constitutes a general principle of EU law that applies to all areas of EU legislation in a uniform manner. He also analyses the possible consequences of the decisions for EU tax litigation and even for the negotiations of future corporate tax harmonization.