In its judgment of 4 May 2023, the ECJ comments on the VAT treatment of the letting of a building including operating equipment. According to the ECJ, a uniform supply takes precedence over the splitting requirement. In the case of this decision, a VAT-exempt uniform supply was obvious. The German Federal Fiscal Court is now responsible for the final assessment. A number of practical consequences are to be expected for various VAT exemptions and the input VAT deduction. The decision is also likely to have an impact on parallel cases.
One component of the quick fixes, that came into force on 01.01.2020, was the new regulation on transport allocation in chain transactions in the instance where the intermediary operator organizes the transport. The German legislator also implemented this regulation into national law and took the opportunity to legally regulate the transport assignment for all possible constellations. This has ensured legal certainty in practice. However, some questions remain unanswered. Now, after more than three years, the BMF is publishing its statement on the topic of chain transactions.
A negative VAT amount shown on an invoice - for example, as a reduction in payment in the form of a bonus - does not give rise to a VAT liability under sec. 14c of the German VAT Act. At least, this is what the German Federal Fiscal Court (BFH) decided in its judgment of 26 June 2019 (XI R 5/18). According to its letter of 18 April 2023, the German Federal Ministry of Finance (BMF) takes a somewhat more differentiated view: The BFH's statement should only apply if the issuer of the invoice actually invoices for a reduction in payment. If, on the other hand, he (unjustifiably) invoices a negative amount for a supply that he has supposedly provided, this should give rise to a VAT liability in accordance with sec. 14c of the German VAT Act. In the case of invoicing by means of a self-billing invoice, the BMF does not consider the BFH ruling to be applicable, so that a VAT liability under sec. 14c of the German VAT Act can also arise in this instance.