EU rules $18 billion Spanish fuel tax illegal


The European Union's top court has ruled that a fuel tax applied by Spanish regions to help finance health care is illegal, possibly opening the door to compensation claims totaling millions of euros (dollars).

The Luxembourg-based Court of Justice said Thursday that the way the gas station tax was set up violated EU laws.

The tax brought in some 13 billion euros ($18 billion) between 2002 and 2011. Affected consumers can now reclaim the tax in court.

The case was brought by a transport company that paid some 45,000 euros in taxes on gas or diesel over three years.

The court noted the EU Commission, the 28-nation bloc's executive arm, warned Spanish authorities already in 2001 about the tax' insufficient legal base.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)