By Amar BOUAKAZ, Notary partner
The growing digitalization of our economy has resulted in the construction of data storage and backup infrastructures.
Cornerstones of an increasingly digitized world, data centers are the perfect reflection of this evolution.
The Council of State had to rule on the application of the provisions of article L520-1 of the Planning Code with regard to the construction of these storage centers.
Is a data center subject to the fee of article L. 520-1 of the Town Planning Code for the creation of offices, commercial and storage premises in Ile-de-France?
The High Administrative Court has just answered in the negative way.
In the case at stake, a company applied for a full planning permission to build a data processing center.
The authorization has been granted.
Most of the surfaces fell into the category of industrial premises. And therefore exempt from the tax fee. A minimal part of the surfaces was for office use and fell accordingly within the scope of the tax fee.
Important clarification there as the qualification of industrial premises was not called into question when the planning permission application was examined.
The base of the tax fee, although not contested at the time of the examination of the planning permission application, was called into question by the administration, which considered that all of the surfaces built should be subject to the tax fee.
The High Administrative Court, in the first instance, upheld the petitioner and partially relieved the company of the tax fee.
By appeal to the High Administrative Court, the Minister for Ecological Transition requested the annulment of the decision of the High Administrative Court.
The High Administrative Court, in its decision of October 11, 2022, rejected the appeal.
For the High Administrative Jurisdiction (i) the digital data processed in the premises in dispute do not constitute products, nor goods, within the meaning of 3° of III of article 231 ter of the Tax Code to which refers to Article L520-1 of the Town Planning Code, and (ii) the premises at stake did not constitute storage premises within the meaning of the provisions of the Tax Code.