Tag Archives: ECJ

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

ECJ Decision (K Oy): VAT rate for non-printed books can only differ if they meet different needs for consumers

On 11 September 2014, the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) gave its decision in K Oy regarding the question whether reduced rates for printed books should equally be applied to books published on another medium, or whether different VAT rates can be justified (case C-219/13 – click link) .

The Court has ruled that a selective application of the reduced VAT rates to printed books is not justified unless the printed books meet different needs for consumers as compared to books published on ‘other physical means of support’ (i.e. CD, DVD, USB stick).

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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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EU Commission refers France and Luxembourg to the European Court of Justice over reduced VAT rates on ebooks

As reported, France and Luxembourg have started to apply reduced and super reduced VAT rates to ebooks without obtaining an approval from the rest of EU. This gave them competitive edge over the rest of the EU countries, as companies which were selling ebooks to their EU B2C customers from those two countries could sell them at the lowest available VAT rates (3% for sales from Luxembourg and 5% for sales from France). This (in words of Commissioner Šemeta, responsible for taxation) “runs counter to the fundamental EU principle of fair tax competition.”

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EU: Internet sellers are jointly liable for import duties

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has recently passed a decision in a Case C‑454/10 Oliver Jestel regarding the question of who is liable for the payment of customs duties when goods are imported into the EU. The case involved an Online shop within the EU, where the shop owner was acting as an intermediary between the fraudulent seller and the customers. ECJ has essentially deemed that the shop owner is co-liable for the payment of the costumes duties and import VAT, which should have been paid (but were not) be the foreign seller, as the shop owner should have been aware that the seller is selling goods illegally imported into the EU.
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EU: ECJ hears phone cards case Lebara (C-520/10)

In its submission to the hearing, the European Commission adopted the approach favored by Lebara Ltd, suggesting that in such circumstances the supply by the TelCo (i.e. the card issuer) is liable to reverse charge VAT in the distributor’s country, and that the onward supply by the distributor to the end user is subject to local VAT in the Member State where the distributor is established. Find out more