Earlier this week the Hungarian government submitted its proposed tax bill for 2015. One of the most interesting changes is the proposed introduction of the “Internet tax” that will be imposed on Internet service providers at a rate of HUF 150 (approx. USD 0.60) for every gigabyte of data or part thereof. By way of example, downloading a movie in HD quality (8.5 GB) would attract a tax charge of approx. USD 5 or the download of a 6GB game would have an additional cost of approx. USD 4 according to the original version of the proposal. You may expect that providers will try to recharge this cost to their customers, which makes surfing even more expensive.
Japan’s current JCT regime was established in 1989 – before the rise of the digital economy. Accordingly, the taxation of B2C supply of eservices by non-established companies to Japanese customers was not considered and currently these are not subject to JCT.
This provides an unfair advantage to non-established eservice providers compared to Japanese businesses in this field, which has become more apparent since the JCT rate increased form 5% to 8%, with another increase to 10% estimated from 1 October 2015.
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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On September 18, 2014, President Obama signed House Joint Resolution 124, which includes provisions extending the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA) through December 11. The Act was previously scheduled to expire November 1, 2014, and the extension gives Congress a chance to consider the ITFA’s long-term future during the lame-duck session after the midterm elections.
On 1 October 2014 the pre-registration period in which EU and foreign suppliers alike can register for the Mini One Stop Shop regime has started. This pre-registration can be made on the website of the tax authority of the EU Member State that is chosen by ebusinesese for MOSS registration.
For non-EU suppliers, this could be practically any country in the EU. For EU entities, the country of establishment will be the country of MOSS registration.
The websites of tax authorities from several countries are already up and running, however there are still EU countries, where the online registration is still not possible.
Any registrations made in the pre-registration period, will be effective from 1 January 2015.
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).
The new Czech virtual currency, Czech Crown Coin (officially named by the authors “CZC”) was for the first time offered to the public this week (Tuesday, 19th August) at noon, as part of a press conference held by its founders. The interest of the public in purchasing CZC was bigger than expected. The pre-mined amount released in the initial edition of 100,000 CZC was sold out within nine and half hours, whereby a third of this limited amount was sold already within the first hour! It is planned that within the next days, an additional set of 100,000 CZC will be offered to the public. After these ten days (on Friday, 29 August) an exchange platform will be opened on the official website of CZC.
Another virtual currency was “borne” today (17 July 2014) at noon. A Czech Crown Coin (the abbreviation used by the authors is “CZC”) as it is called, is established. The announced amount of coins is 100 million and the currency will be, similarly to other virtual currencies, mined. The mining website was opened at the same moment. Half of the total volume of CZCs has been already pre-mined, the other half should be mined within the next 4 to 10 years. The distribution of a limited number of free-of-charge coins to registered Czech citizens is announced to start in the first half of September 2014.
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The Advocate General (AG) released her opinion in the interesting VAT case dealing with the situation whether a foreign company can be regarded as having a fixed establishment in the supplier’s Member State by using the supplier’s infrastructure.
On 13 June the EU Commission has published additional guidelines on the audit of the VAT Mini One Stop Shop scheme (MOSS).
The additional MOSS guidelines are available on the EU Commission’s website in English (Link). It will be translated in all EU languages, as well in Chinese and Japanese.
The guidelines include additional information for businesses signing up for the Mini One Stop Shop and notably on:
how to best contact businesses as part of an audit;
the method businesses should use to provide the information required by an audit.
These are recommendations only and not binding for the EU Member States.