Real property investments in France - ECJ finds France's 3% tax to be incompatible with the free movement of capital

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) handed down its decision in the ELISA case on 11 October 2007. The case concerns the French legislation that provides for a 3% tax, assessed annually, on the commercial value of immovable property located in France. After some introductory remarks explaining the French legislation at issue, this article discusses the facts and issues in ELISA and the reasoning of the ECJ. The article also examines what can be derived from ELISA - the additional clarification of tax avoidance and exchange of information, and the practical consequences for EU and non-EU investors in French real property.