The adjustment of family allowances and of various tax advantages granted by Austria to workers according to their children’s State of residence is contrary to EU law

(Source: Court of Justice of the European Union)

Such a mechanism constitutes unjustified indirect discrimination based on the nationality of migrant workers

On 1 January 2019, Austria put in place an adjustment mechanism for calculating the flat-rate amount of family allowances and of various tax advantages which it grants to workers whose children reside permanently in another Member State. Those tax advantages include the child tax credit, the Family Bonus Plus, the sole earner’s allowance, the single parent’s allowance and the tax credit for maintenance payments. The adjustment may be made upwards or downwards depending on the general price level in the Member State concerned.

Taking the view that that adjustment mechanism and the resulting difference in treatment, which affects mainly migrant workers as opposed to Austrian nationals, are contrary to EU law, the Commission brought an action against Austria before the Court of Justice for failure to fulfil obligations. In the present case, the Commission is supported by the Czech Republic, Croatia, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia and the EFTA Surveillance Authority, while Denmark and Norway have intervened in support of Austria.

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