All posts by (previously posted by Crtomir Borec on behalf of PwC Switzerland)

South Africa: Update on new VAT rules for eservice suppliers

In line with the new VAT legislation, set to take effect on 1 April 2014, electronic/digital services (“eservices”) supplied by a business outside South Africa to a recipient in South Africa will require the supplier to register for Value-Added Tax in South Africa.

The recipient is deemed to be located in South Africa if:

  • that recipient is a resident of South Africa or
  • where payment originates from a bank registered or authorized in terms of South African law.

It is important to realize that this definition applies supplies made both to B2B (Business – to – Business) and B2C (Business – to – Consumer).

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Luxembourg: Infringement procedure on VAT rates for ebooks

Not long ago we have updated you about the EU Commission’s infringement procedure against France related to their application of the super reduced VAT rates for ebooks. France and Luxembourg share the opinion that ebooks should be taxed as their physical contra-parts (as books), whereas the EU Commission has the opinion that under the current VAT Directive rules ebooks should be regarded as all other eservices and therefore taxed with the standard VAT rate.

Following the published case against France two weeks ago, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“ECJ”) has also published the EU Commission’s infringement procedure against Luxembourg. Some more information are available at GlobalVATonline.

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France: Infringement procedure on VAT rates for ebooks published

We have been discussing the developments about the EU Commission’s infringement procedure against Luxemburg and France related to their application of the super reduced VAT rates for ebooks several times in the past (last time here). The EU Commission is of the view that under the current VAT Directive rules ebooks should be regarded as all other eservices and taxed with the standard VAT rate. Luxemburg and France are of the opinion that ebooks should be taxed as their physical contra-parts – i.e. as books.

As reported on PwC’s GlobalVATonline, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“ECJ”) has recently published the EU Commission’s infringement procedure case against France. There is no official news about the infringement procedure case against Luxembourg available at this moment.

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Featured article: EU – small change, big impact

The start of 2015 will bring the biggest single change to the EU VAT regime that telecom operators, broadcasters and others that provide eservices have seen in decades.

The legislation is expected to have a profound impact on e-services providers, particularly on their pricing and commercial strategy. As providers of these services take steps to adapt to the new legislation, the result will be either a sharp increase in the prices charged to many consumers or a cut in suppliers’ profit margins – neither of which is a desirable outcome.

In practice, companies based in the EU will be affected the most, as the rules change mostly for those suppliers. The changes will also affect non-EU suppliers. The legislation is expected to have a profound impact on eservices providers, particularly on their pricing and commercial strategy

Stephen Dale, Martin Blanche and Johnathan Davies provide an overview on the changes the new EU VAT rules will bring to telecom operators, broadcasters and other providers of eservices from 1 January 2015. Their article “EU: small change, big impact” (originally published in Tax planning international – Indirect taxes: Volume 11, Number 10, October 2013) focuses on possible outcomes for eservice providers.

EU: Practical guidelines for businesses on new VAT rules for telecommunications, broadcasting and eservices

The EU Commission has published practical guidelines on the mini-one-stop-shop to prepare businesses for the new B2C VAT rules for telecoms, broadcasting and eservices, which will enter into force with 1 January 2015.

The aim is to help businesses to be fully prepared on time for the change-over, whereby VAT will be charged in the country where the customer is based.VAT will have to be collected by all providers of telecom, broadcasting and eservices, regardless whether they are established inside or outside of the EU. Find out more

EU: Taxing the Digital Economy

“Today’s tax systems were conceived in a pre-computer age. So it is no surprise that they often clash with the modern, digital economy. Taxation must not be an obstacle to all that is good about the digital revolution. Yet, we must also ensure that the digital sector plays fair and pays fair.” These are the words of Mr. Šemeta, EU Commissioner for Taxation, Customs, Statistics, Anti-fraud and Audit, published in the recent press release of the European Commission.

“The digital sector must contribute fairly to public finances. Currently corporate tax avoidance and aggressive tax planning are particularly problematic in the digital economy. This is due to the global and intangible nature of these companies, and the fact that today’s tax rules were not designed with e-commerce in mind. As a result, the taxes paid by the digital economy are frequently not in line with the presence and profits of this sector in the EU.”

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