State aid rules do not usually offer sufficient space for territorial tax measures to address the social issues of the most disadvantaged areas of the EU. The aim of this article is to find out the coordinates of a new model of special tax zones that can overcome these limitations on the basis of the concept of social tax incentives through an investigation on the possibilities left by the Altmark criteria and Article 106(2) Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). The literature and other legal sources on the topic are analysed, including the main experiences of the Member States and the key aspects related to the ‘social services of general interest’. The article concludes with the presentation of the so-called ‘social cohesion zone’ as a new instrument for the EU cohesion policy based on social tax incentives, in accordance with the fundamental values of the treaties and the constitutional traditions of Member States. The final recommendation consequently addresses the adoption of a soft law instrument that can give evidence of the social cohesion zone within the field of EU tax law.