Category Archives: Editorials

EU – Advocate General Opinion – Bitcoin dealing VAT-free as currency exchange?

ECJ Advocate General Kokott has recommended the Court to consider dealing in bitcoins for a commission to be a service exempt from VAT under the currency dealing provision (link – to the German version of the opinion. In English it is not yet available) .

A Swedish dealer in bitcoins (buying and selling bitcoins in exchange for Swedish kroner) was in dispute with the tax office over the VAT liability on the currency exchange. He maintained that he was providing a VAT exempt service of currency exchange, whereas the tax office disputed the point because bitcoins are not legal tender. It was also pointed out that bitcoins are not subject to any form of government supervision or control and offer no guarantee of continued usefulness to the holder. Find out more

Bitcoin – the rise of virtual currencies and their VAT implications

In the last couple of years virtual currencies become more popular. Recently we can see that more and also well established businesses are accepting this as payment method every day, e.g. Dell, Overstock.com or Expedia – just to name a few completely different businesses. We already posted some updates on virtual currencies (here, here , here and here). In this update we focus on bitcoin, being one of the most widely known virtual currency and the VAT questions it has already triggered.
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Belgium – Bitcoin Trading Exempt from VAT … for now

In a recent decision issued for an online Bitcoin trading platform, the Belgian tax authorities have confirmed that the trading of Bitcoins and other virtual currencies is similar to the activity of an intermediary negotiating in securities and other negotiable instruments and, as a consequence, is exempt from VAT under the Belgian VAT code provision implementing Article 135(1)(d) of the EU VAT Directive. As a result, the activities should be treated as exempt from VAT and Bitcoin and alike trading platforms should not charge VAT to their customers with respect to their exchange services. On the other hand, those platforms have no right to deduct the input VAT paid in relation to their exchange activity.
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USA: Taxing Internet commerce: What global retailers need to know

With the availability of high speed Internet access, smart phones, and tablets, it is not surprising that the global retail industry is experiencing a fundamental shift in how individual consumers research, select, and eventually purchase products. Individuals are shopping through a variety of different channels, some physical, some virtual, making for an easier and more streamlined shopping experience. E-commerce has quickly become a key channel for retailers to reach their customers. This embrace of digital technology and social media is creating a new landscape for retailers as they ensure that their policies and practices support these changes. These shifting business models are creating unique consumption tax issues for global retailers selling within and into the United States.

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EU: Mini one stop shop 2015 – the basics

Today we will take a look at the basics of the new Mini One Stop Shop (“MOSS”) VAT registration scheme and compare the EU and non-EU MOSS schemes with their alternative – the “standard” local VAT registration in up to 28 EU countries.

As you are most probably aware companies selling telecom, broadcasting and eservices to B2C customers in the EU will have to charge VAT in the country of the customer and at that country’s VAT rate. This will mean 28 countries and 28 VAT rates (or 56 rates if ebooks and similar eservices will potentially become taxable at reduced VAT rate).

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EU: How to define the location of an ebiz customer?

In today’s article we will take a look at information the EU Commission suggests that should be collected and used to determine the location of the customer – buyer of eservices. We will also analyze the practicability of the various proposed location evidences and think about how easy they are obtained in practice.

As you are probably aware, at least as of 2015 every business supplying eservices to non-VAT registered customers in the EU will have to charge VAT in the country where its customer is located. In a number of cases this rule already applies (e.g. if the eservices are supplied by non-EU companies to EU customers or if they are supplied to Swiss, Norwegian, etc… customers).

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