Noise pollution has wide-ranging adverse health, social and economic effects. This chapter explores the current state of the art of noise pollution taxation in order to identify what role it can play within the environmental taxation framework. Although there are few environmental taxes in force directly addressing noise pollution, in instances where these have been applied, they have been successful. Nowadays, certain circumstances favour noise pollution taxes becoming a real option. The electric car is a real possibility, allowing for new taxes aiming to drive the market towards options that are more favourable to the environment with respect to noise emissions and that, simultaneously, help neutralise the social costs of acoustic emissions. The application of noise pollution taxes to motor vehicles is of particular interest due to the number of motor vehicles and their polluting effects, and because of the growing concentration of the population in large cities.
Marta Villar Ezcurra
Digital companies have an average effective tax rate which is half that of the traditional economy. In particular, the state of taxation of certain e-commerce activities – especially those relating to tangible goods – is a source of concern at the global level. The tax landscape is evolving very quickly towards a model in which digital business activities are taxed in a fair and growth-friendly way, assuming that the digital economy provides positive effects for the environment. Nevertheless, potential environmental adverse effects can be identified, such as the increase in long-distance freight transport. This chapter raises the question of whether environmentally unfriendly symptoms of transport caused by e-commerce are the natural result of, or at all influenced by, the current international tax framework, in which differences in tax treatment make it possible to assume significant transport costs. It also considers what kind of mitigation strategies should be implemented to improve the protection of the environment.
Marta Villar Ezcurra and Carmen Cámara Barroso
Spain has been one of the pioneer countries in the development of photovoltaic power generation. Since the very beginning of its launching, there has been a substantial involvement of public incentives in three different ways: tax incentives, direct subsidies and regulated prices for the power generated by photovoltaic investments. Due to this involvement of the public promotion in the development of photovoltaic power production, there has been a debate on what is the best way to make the increase of the photovoltaic production power compatible with the desirable neutrality of the public activity except for the necessary promotion of the environmental needs. In this regard, the treatment of self-consumption is a key issue for the faster increase in the photovoltaic facilities. Depending on how self-consumption is treated from a fiscal point of view and also for the regulated matters, like the possibility of selling electricity to third parties through the networks at a given price, the final electricity market shape will be one or another. Some are of the opinion that tax incentives for self-consumption must be avoided while others believe that a faster development of the photovoltaic technologies and productions needs a strong support of the public institutions.
Álvaro Antón Antón and Marta Villar Ezcurra
Marta Villar Ezcurra and Enrique Fonseca Capdevila
In Europe electricity networks must now be operated by separate entities from the suppliers of electricity. The importance of these entities is crucial: they influence the distribution of costs that can impact the electricity prices and they play a significant role in the allocation of the system’s costs to the different types of consumers. Although there are common structures across the EU, many variations still exist in the legal organization, regulatory policies and pricing schemes. While MBIs are involved in the use of the general electricity networks must be in compliance with the State aid law, this chapter aims to review the parafiscal charges, fiscal instruments and other contributions to the electricity networks implemented in the EU Member States. This is to clarify its categorisation under the scope of the Energy Taxation Directive (directive 2003/96) and with regard to EU State aid regime. To this end, the legal framework is considered in the light of settled ECJ case-law.