According to a recent Federal Fiscal Court decision (XI R 16/16 of 25.04.2018), with regard to commissionaire structures personal VAT-exemptions also apply to the procurement of services by the undisclosed agent. Thus, the Federal Fiscal Court contradicts the fiscal authority’s current view. The decision results in changes, which will apply to all undisclosed agents procuring VAT-exempt supplies. They now need to check whether they are required to invoice without VAT in the future and whether VAT refunds can be applied for past transactions.
According to the Federal Fiscal Court, (decision of 16.05.2018 – XI R 28/16), any correction of VAT liability in accordance with sec 14c para 1 sentence 2 of the German VAT Act (= sec. 203 of the VAT Directive) requires, in addition to the correction of the invoice, that the supplier has paid back the wrongfully invoiced VAT amount to the customer. In the absence of such a repayment, the supplier would be unjustly enriched. For taxable persons this means that they often have to pre-finance the respective VAT amount. Further, they may declare the correction of their VAT liability to the tax office only during the reporting period of the repayment not earlier. However, there are still likely to be constellations where a repayment to the customer is irrelevant.
In its judgement of 25.07.2018 in the legal case C-140/17 the ECJ ruled that a municipality can become entitled to input VAT deduction by virtue of a subsequent allocation decision. According to the ECJ, an input VAT correction is not ruled out merely because the public body used an asset exclusively on behalf of the government at the time of its acquisition. The ruling gives hope to both public and private bodies that the previous static allocation of assets to the non-economic sector, at the time of their acquisition, will ultimately become a thing of the past.
Operators of electronic marketplaces shall be held liable for the VAT owed by other companies who used the marketplace to sell goods in Germany without paying VAT. According to the government's draft of the law to avoid VAT shortfalls on the trade with goods on the Internet, operators are to be encouraged to cooperate only with companies who can prove they are registered in Germany. Otherwise the operators may be held liable for the VAT not paid.
In its judgment of 25.07.2018 (C-05/17) the ECJ decided that a service provider does not provide VAT-exempt payment and transfer transactions by the mere act of direct debiting and forwarding of money. This case is yet another ECJ ruling which finds that outsourced financial service supplies are subject to VAT. Cost advantages are nullified by VAT liability in this area for certain sectors like banks, insurance companies and doctors.
The Fiscal Court in Hesse dealt with the issue of absorption of employee relocation expenses by employers in a judgement published in July 2018 (6 K 2033/15 of 22.02.2018). In the particular case, the Court held that the employer’s business interest in the move took priority. Thus, there is no free of charge supply here. Consequently, the absorption of relocation expenses by an employer can justify a claim for the company’s input VAT deduction. The Court considered the assumption of an exchange-like transaction as unrealistic
In the Enteco Baltic case, the ECJ once again examined the significance of VAT-ID-Nos. for the application of a VAT exemption. On this occasion, it concerned the exemption from import VAT in case of a subsequent intra-Community supply (so-called “procedure 42”). In consistent continuation of its previous case law, the ECJ ruled that the disclosure of the purchaser's VAT-ID-No. is merely a formal requirement and not a substantive prerequisite for exemption from import VAT. In addition, the judgment contains statements on good faith and evidential value of documents issued in the excise tax suspension procedure.
On 05.07.2018 the European Court of Justice ruled in the case Marle Participations - C-320/17 that a holding company is generally entitled to fully deduct input VAT from costs in connection with the acquisition of shares in its subsidiaries. The prerequisite is that the holding company intervenes in the management of its subsidiaries and, to this extent, carries out an economic activity. A holding company is already regarded as carrying out an economic activity when it provides rental services subject to VAT to its subsidiaries.
On 21 June 2018 the US Supreme Court ruled that out-of-state retailers must charge and remit sales tax, even if they do not have a physical nexus in the customer’s US State. It thereby confirmed the economic nexus legislation introduced by South Dakota. Furthermore, the court’s decision effectively overturns contrary earlier rulings. Other US States will follow South Dakota’s example. US and non-US online sellers with customers in the US must now check whether they are affected.
AUSTRALIA plans to tax non-established providers of hotel rooms +++ GREAT BRITAIN intends to simplify input VAT deduction of import VAT +++ GREECE is about to introduce real-time reporting obligations and plans to ban paper invoices +++ HUNGARY unofficially grants grace period for real-time reporting +++ INDIA intends to simplify VAT returns +++ ITALY postpones the obligation to issue electronic invoices +++ KUWAIT schedules the introduction of a VAT system for 2021 +++ MALAYSIA abolished GST +++ NEW ZEALAND plans to abolish the exemption limit for imports +++ RUSSIA reduces the exemption threshold for imports +++ SWITZERLAND publishes broadcasting fees +++ SPAIN expands real-time reporting obligations