The Constitutional Court annuls the “Turtel tax”

The Constitutional Court annuls the “Turtel tax”

With a decision of 22 June 2017 the Constitutional Court annulled the Flemish energy levy, better known as the so-called “Turtel tax”. This tax was introduced in March 2016 by former Flemish Minister of Energy Annemie Turtelboom in order to reduce the debt load that built up within the framework of the granting and financing of green energy certificates since 2002. The amount of the levy was determined on the basis of the annual electricity consumption.    

The Constitutional Court ruled that the levy violates the rules on the division of powers contained in the Constitution, since there already exists a federal tax on electricity consumption, and the Flemish Region may not impose a new tax on this same consumption. This follows from the prohibition on double taxation of the same taxable matter. 

An annulment decision of the Constitutional Court normally has retroactive effect. In order to avoid legal uncertainty and administrative and legal difficulties, the Court maintains the consequences of the nullified provisions for the levy years 2016 and 2017.

For more information on this subject, you can consult Kristof Hectors (unit head) and Barbara Bastiaensen (author).