Some concerns currently exist as to the practical application of the Quick Fixes. However, it may be several weeks until the expected administrative circular is published by the Federal Ministry of Finance. The Explanatory Notes published on 20.12.2019, now also including guidelines from the VAT Committee, can serve as a guide. The final version contains some simplifications with regard to consignment stocks. On the other hand, a somewhat stricter approach appears to be emerging with regard to the communication of the correct VAT-ID. Tools for automated VAT-ID queries, such as the VAT-ID Verifier developed by us, can provide valuable assistance here.
For years, the parties involved have been struggling with the legal structure of Brexit. This week, following the approval of the British House of Commons, the House of Lords and also the Queen approved the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated with the EU. The Agreement’s entry into force on 01.02.2020 is thus quasi sealed. The so-called hard Brexit should therefore be averted. In our latest Newsletter, we summarise for you what is actually going to happen on 01.02.2020 and set out which legal regulations in the field of customs and VAT law will, in the very near future, apply between the UK and the EU.
In two judgments (Ref: XI R 2/18 and XI R 28/18), the Federal Fiscal Court decided, in a business-friendly manner, on the "customary description" in terms of invoices. To date, the fiscal authorities and fiscal courts have always required that the description must allow for individual identification of the goods or services rendered, especially in the low-price segment. However, invoices often show only a category of what was supplied. The Federal Fiscal Court has now clarified that the customary character of the description is based on the commercial practice of billing. Entrepreneurs can henceforth invoke the commercial custom of the description used and thus secure the input VAT deduction.
Under what circumstances does the reduced VAT rate apply to workshops for disabled persons and integration companies? With its decision of 23.07.2019 (ref. XI R 2/17), the Federal Fiscal Court demonstrates its intention to allow only a very restrictive application of the reduced VAT rate. It ignores both how these non-profit organizations work and that the pursuit of social purposes is privileged in accordance with Union law.
The reduced VAT rate of 7% for e-books and comparable electronic products will apply with the publication of the Annual Tax Act 2019 in the Federal Law Gazette, probably before the end of this year. In particular, the provision of books, newspapers and magazines in electronic form will be subject to the sec 12 para 2 no 14 of the German VAT Act. However, subscriptions and memberships could also benefit.
NETHERLANDS assigns new VAT ID number to sole traders +++ AUSTRIA applies ECJ decision Vega only in individual cases +++ CZECH REPUBLIC implements a general Reverse Charge mechanism +++ GREECE plans reduction of VAT rates +++ UK plans to retain Intrastat returns also after Brexit +++ NORWAY simplifies registration for distance sellers +++ CROATIA sets a deadline for obligation to register in the Register of Beneficial Owners +++ AUSTRIA has raised threshold for VAT registration of small entrepreneurs +++ PORTUGAL extends deadline to pay VAT due +++ HUNGARY reduces VAT rate for accommodation services
Last Friday, the German Federal Council approved the Annual Tax Act 2019 (under a different name). It has thus implemented the VAT exemption for medical treatments in private clinics into the German VAT Act. The regulation is applicable as of 01.01.2020. Private clinics should therefore quickly check whether they meet the requirements specified in the new legislation.
The Third Bureaucracy Relief Act recently passed by the German Bundestag and Bundesrat succinctly states: "In sec 19 para 1 sentence 1 of the German VAT Act, the "EUR 17,500" shall be replaced by "EUR 22,000". However, this seemingly small change will have a significant effect on many taxable persons. Even though the amendment will not come into force until 1 January 2020, (small) businesses can already benefit from it in 2019.
According to the new regulatory regime of sec. 2b of the German VAT Act, non-taxable cooperation against payment between legal entities under public law is only possible under very specific conditions of sovereignty. In its letter of 14.11.2019, the Federal Ministry of finance has now further restricted the provision of sec. 2b para. 3 no. 2 of the German VAT Act, with the conclusion: Started out a tiger and ended up a bedside rug.
Do grants and subsidies from a third party form part of the VAT base? The ECJ answered this question in the affirmative in the proceedings C-573/18 and C-574/18. The case concerned the financing of capital goods via an operational fund. The decision shows the means by which the tax authorities attempt to make subsidies or grants de facto subject to taxation.