In a confidential document obtained by the Gibraltar Chronicle, it is claimed that Finance Centre Director James Tipping has told 200 locally based firms that the European Commission may force the Gibraltar government to abolish the qualifying company tax regime.

According to the letter, Tipping says the government may have no choice but to phase out the qualifying company legislation and asks the companies whether they will be willing to relinquish their qualifying status certificate "and submit to the normal corporation tax regime".

The position adopted by the government has been largely expected for some time, given that qualifying companies were never the subject of the ongoing Gibraltar negotiations with Brussels regarding the continuation of the exempt tax company regime pending the adjudication of Gibraltar's new tax proposals by the European Court of Justice. These negotiations have centred on grandfathering the exempt companies regime.

The phasing out of qualifying companies and their activities has been expected for some time.

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