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.”
First and the most important fact: These rules are mandatory for any kind of ebusiness, no matter where it is established or has a nexus: in EU, US, China, India, Australia, Switzerland. As soon as a company provides eservices to a non VAT registered EU customer (regardless whether the customer is a legal or a natural person) it is bound by these rules, regardless whether it has a “physical” presence, server or agent in the EU. The customer’s location is the only thing that matters.
As reported end of last year, EU Commission has on 18 December 2012 published a new proposal for amending the VAT Implementing Directive 282/2011, which provides additional rules and clarifications regarding the place of supply rules – i.e. defines in which country VAT should be levied.
For the purposes of this post I will limit myself only to those relevant for us telecom, broadcasting and e-services, even though the proposal deals also with some other issues (e.g. work on immovable property).
Live webcast: 11:00 (GMT / UK time) Monday, 28 January 2013
Do you sell services to consumers? Are they electronically supplied, telecom or broadcasting services? Are your customers in the EU? Are you investing into the ebusiness, telecom or broadcasting sectors? Are you ready for the B2C EU VAT changes?
In 2015 the EU VAT place of supply rules are changing. B2C telecoms, broadcasting and electronically supplied services will be taxed where your customer is located or belongs. As a result, different VAT rates may apply compared to your current situation impacting your pricing or profit margin.
On 18 December 2012, the Commission adopted the proposal for a Council Regulation amending the VAT Implementing Regulation (EU) No 282/2011 as regards the place of supply of services. It is the final proposal in a package of measures in view of the implementation of the new VAT taxation rules for B2C telecommunications, broadcasting and electronic services that will become effective as of 1st January 2015.
The proposed implementing measures relate to the identification and evidence of customer location and are needed to ensure a uniform application within the EU. It also includes a proposed deemed provision in case of intermediated delivery of electronic services.
Ordering goods per internet that are sent directly to your home has become increasingly popular these days. It’s easier, more convenient and you can do it while riding a bus or waiting for your dentist appointment. While you could already buy clothes from catalogues decades ago, you can even do your groceries shopping via your smart phone today. But what are the tax obstacles in this area for companies offering those services within the EU?
As you are probably aware, France and Luxembourg have on 1 January 2012 started to tax the sales of ebooks at reduced VAT rate instead of applying the standard VAT rate. This means that ebusinesses selling ebooks through a sales entity in Luxembourg were able to tax them at 3% rate instead of 15% and in France at 7% rate (5,5% as of 1 January 2013) instead of 19,6%.
The EU Commission in its role of the guardian of the EU Treaties and legislation does not agree with the unilateral decision of France and Luxembourg and has therefore initiated a formal infringement procedure and has in July 2012 send them a Letter of Formal Notice.
A very good and conveniently brief explanation on the infringement procedure and its implications can be found here.
As reported some time ago the EU Commission is working on the proposal of a Voucher Directive, which will amend the VAT Directive with rules on vouchers.
Please find the current draft of the proposal here.
This is another topic that will be discussed during our meeting of the B2C 2015 Working Group on 24 October 2012 in Brussels. If you are not already member of this group, contact Sophie Claessens directly.
The Council Regulation (EU) No 967/2012 laying down rules on the application of the provisions of the VAT Directive concerning special schemes for taxable persons supplying telecommunications services, broadcasting services or electronic services to non-taxable persons (i.e. B2C) has been published.
The Regulation amends Council Implementing Regulation (EU) No 282/2011 and introduces new measures covering both “mini one stop shop” special schemes for EU and non-EU ebusinesses to be applied as from 1 January 2015.