EU Court: Church Jobs Subject to Proportionality Review
The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has warned that the German Evangelical Church might be breaching anti-discrimination laws by requiring its employees to belong to a Christian denomination (C-414/16 Egenberger).
While we might expect the local vicar to be a Christian in name at least, it is not clear why an applicant for a post to research the UN Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination needs to be. Ms Egenberger, of no particular denomination, did not even make it to interview, as the job specification required that candidates should belong to a Protestant or other Christian church. Ms Egenberger consequently sued for discrimination, and the German Federal Labour Court referred the case to the CJEU, asking for an interpretation of the Anti-Discrimination Directive (Council Directive 2000/78/EC).
According to the CJEU, it is for the national court to decide on a case-by-case basis whether religion is a ‘genuine, legitimate and justified occupational requirement’. Such judicial review would assess the balance struck between churches’ autonomy and workers’ anti-discrimination rights. Specifically, national courts must ascertain whether the said requirement is necessary and objectively dictated, having regard to the ethos of the organisation concerned, by the nature of the occupational activity in question or the circumstances in which it is carried out. In addition, the requirement must comply with the principle of proportionality, and thus it must be appropriate and not go beyond what is necessary for attaining the objective pursued.
Interestingly, the CJEU was not tempted to grant the Church a total exemption from anti-discrimination laws as regards employment (as is the case in the US, for example). Instead, the CJEU asserted that the EU law principle of proportionality governs how churches (and other religious institutions) may discriminate against employees on the basis of religion, and the proportionality or otherwise of such discrimination is for national courts to police.
An Assessment to Tax is never ‘stale’, but it might be out of date: HMRC v Tooth
This article briefly discusses the key points arising out of the decision of the UK Supreme Court in HMRC v Tooth  UKSC 17. The case considered (1) whether a discovery assessment could become “stale” and (2) the meaning of the phrase “deliberate inaccuracy”.
VATA 1994 s.47, Agency, Onward Supply Relief, & Double Taxation
On 12 July 2021, the First-tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber) (“FTT”) released its decision in Scanwell Logistics (UK) Limited v HMRC  UKFTT 261 (TC), rejecting the taxpayer’s claim for onward supply relief (“OSR”).
Whilst OSR is now limited, post-Brexit, to goods imported into Northern Ireland for onward supply to the EU, the FTT’s discussion of agency under section 47 of the Value Added Tax Act 1994 (“VATA”) is of broader interest.
The case serves as a reminder of the significant financial consequences that can result from errors in tax planning, as Scanwell was ultimately held liable for £5.7 million in unpaid import VAT despite the fact that the imported goods almost immediately left the UK (which, if properly planned, could have meant Scanwell was relieved from liability to import VAT).
Draft Finance Bill 2022—tax avoidance measures
Helen McGhee, senior associate at Joseph Hage Aaronson LLP, considers the draft Finance Bill 2022 clauses published on 20 July 2021 in relation to tax avoidance and recent updates to the tax avoidance regime.
Getting Closer: A Global Minimum Tax on Corporations
On 1 July 2021, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen announced that countries representing over 90% of global GDP had agreed to a global minimum tax on corporations (“GMCT”). The GMCT seeks to put a floor on tax competition on corporate income through the introduction of a minimum corporate tax of at least 15%. Whilst certain elements give rise to positive expectations, some caveats should be noted. Much will depend on (1) the outcome of future political negotiations and (2) the detail of the drafting at international and national levels.
The DBKAG & K (CJEU) decision: an opportunity for investment funds?
On 17 June 2021, the European Court decided the joint cases K (C-58/20) and DBKAG (C-59/20) regarding whether the supply of certain services constituted the “management of special investment funds”, benefiting from the VAT exemption enshrined in Article 135(1)(g) of Council Directive 2006/112/EC.