An innovative tax scheme designed to improve access to risk capital for small and medium-sized companies is under investigation by the European Commission ("Commisson"). The scheme proposed by the Danish Government would give favourable tax treatment for investment by certain institutional investors in shares traded on alternative markets (i.e. generally those of companies at an early stage of development not listed on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange). In announcing its decision on 25 January 2007 to carry out a more detailed investigation, the Commission did not condemn the general objective of the scheme but indicated that it had concerns over whether it was addressing a significant market failure, whether the mechanism would be proportionate to the perceived problem and whether there was a risk of favouring certain institutional investors over others.
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