According to the ruling by the ECJ on 19 July 2012, an exchange of shares between a Finnish limited liability company and a Norwegian company shall enjoy similar tax-neutral treatment as an exchange of shares between companies resident in the EU.
In the ruling, given based on a request from the Finnish Supreme Administrative Court, the ECJ stated that the treatment of an exchange of shares between a Finnish and a Norwegian company as a taxable disposal of shares would, at the outset, be a restriction on the freedom of establishment. The ECJ noted also that there were no sufficient grounds to justify the difference in treatment, since the agreement concerning transfer of information between the Finnish and Norwegian authorities provides for an equally effective transfer of information as provided for between EU Member States.
The ruling is likely to further enhance cross-border restructurings between EEA countries. The Finnish tax authorities have earlier also taken the view that mergers between Finnish companies and EEA companies qualifies for tax-neutral treatment.