The European Commission has published proposals for Council decisions to postpone deadlines imposed by the EU Directive on Administrative Cooperation by 3 months, as well as the entry into force of the VAT E-commerce package by 6 months.
This follows on from public requests made by financial and professional association organisations, seeking leniency in the enforcement of penalties and deadlines contained within the Directive due to the extraordinary consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak which have resulted in severe disruption across the European economy.
As concerns the Directive on Administrative Cooperation, the proposal would:
- Defer the time limit for exchanges of information on Reportable Financial Accounts by 3 months, i.e. until 31 December 2020;
- Change the date for the first exchange of information on reportable cross-border arrangements that feature in Annex IV to Council Directive 2011/16/EU from 31 October 2020 to 31 January 2021;
- Change the date for the beginning of the period of 30 days for reporting cross-border arrangements which are included in Hallmarks listed in Annex IV to Council Directive 2018/822/EU from 1 July 2020 to 1 October 2020;
- Change the date for the reporting of the ‘historical’ cross-border arrangements (i.e. arrangements that became reportable from 25 June 2018 to 30 June 2020) from 31 August 2020 to 30 November 2020.
The Commission has also included in the proposal concerning the Directive on Administrative Cooperation the possibility of extending the reporting deadlines for a further 3 months, depending on the continued evolution of the coronavirus impact on the EU.
As concerns the VAT e-commerce package, the proposals would “only concern the date of application of the already adopted legal framework of the VAT e-commerce package set out in the VAT Directive. The date of application shall be postponed by six months. This means that the rules shall be applied as of 1 July 2021 instead of 1 January 2021. Consequently, Member States shall adopt and publish their transposition measures by 30 June 2021 instead of 31 December 2020.”
The proposals will be considered by the Council as a matter of priority.
While it is business as usual here at Bader Consulting, given the unprecedented events developing in the world related to the Coronavirus we wanted to provide you with an update on how we are responding to the situation. Having as a top priority the health and safety of our clients and team, as well out of respect to our community, we have decided that as from today all our team will be working from home.
Our firm will remain fully operative. We are more than sure that we will continue to offer the same level of service to all our clients.
We are here to help you with any business related matter and we will endeavor to keep all operations running exactly as we have done until the crisis passes.
We thank you all for your continued support.
The European Commission has published draft Explanatory Notes on EU VAT changes in respect of call-off stock arrangements, chain transactions and the exemption for Intra-Community supplies of goods (“2020 Quick Fixes”), which the Commission prepared for input and discussion at the upcoming VAT Expert Group meeting.
The explanatory notes set out guidance on Commission’s view as to interpretation of Council Directive (EU) No 2018/1910 amending Council Directive 2006/112/EC and Council Implementing Regulation (EU) No 2018/1912 amending Implementing Regulation (EU) No 282/2011 concerning the VAT Quick Fixes. The explanatory notes will not be legally binding on the Member States or the European Commission. Contact us for details!
The European Council formally approved proposals for four “quick fixes” concerning value added tax (VAT) to simplify international trade. The “VAT quick fixes” will be effective beginning 1 January 2020, and will be expected to have considerable implications for businesses trading in international goods.
The VAT quick fixes concern the following four changes:
- Simplified treatment for call-off stock
- Uniform rules to simplify chain transactions
- Mandatory VAT identification number to apply the zero VAT rate
- Simplified proof of intra-Community supplies
These changes will affect different facets within a business (such as changes to the ERP systems and the tax control framework), and could require businesses to update their administrative processes, VAT compliance procedures, billing processes, and other matters such as contracts and order processes with customers and suppliers.
Simplified treatment for call-off stock
To shorten delivery times, it is becoming increasingly common for suppliers to transfer stock to a warehouse or other location (for example, a store or showroom) of a regular customer in another EU Member State. The goods remain the property of the supplier until they are picked up by the customer (this process is also referred to as “call-off stock”). Under the current VAT rules, when a supplier transfers the goods to the call-off stock, it performs a deemed intra-Community supply in its own EU Member State and a deemed intra-Community acquisition in the EU Member State of arrival. As soon as the customer takes the goods out of the call-off stock, the supplier performs a domestic supply. Generally, the supplier will have to register for VAT purposes in the EU Member State where the warehouse is located. At present, most EU Member States have VAT simplification arrangements for call-off stock, but these differ per country.
Under the new harmonized rules, the transfer of goods to a warehouse in another EU Member State will no longer qualify as a deemed intra-Community supply and a deemed acquisition (for a maximum period of one year). As soon as the customer takes the goods out of the stock, the supplier performs a direct intra-Community supply to the customer. The supplier will not be required to register for VAT purposes in the EU Member State of arrival of the goods. The supplier and customer that use this simplification, however, must keep a register that complies with specific conditions. In addition, the supplier must report on the EC sales list that it transported goods to foreign stock. If a supplier does not comply with all the conditions for call-off stock, it must in principle still register for VAT purposes.
Uniform rules to simplify chain transactions
In the case of a chain transaction with consecutive supplies of goods among three or more taxable persons in different EU Member States, the intra-Community goods transport can only be attributed to one link in the chain. This means that the zero VAT rate for intra-Community supplies only applies to one supply. The other supplies are local (domestic) supplies of goods. In practice, there is often discussion about which link must be attributed to the intra-Community goods transport.
Under the new rules, the starting point is that the intra-Community supply takes place in the link in which the goods are supplied to the taxable person that arranges the intra-Community transport or has this arranged. This is usually the first supply in the “link A-B.” Exceptions to this fiction are possible, for example, if intermediary B, which arranges the transport or has this arranged, provides the supplier with a VAT identification number of the EU Member State of dispatch of the goods. In that case, the intra-Community goods transport is attributed to the link between the taxable person arranging the transport or that has this arranged and its customer (in this example the “link B-C”).
VAT identification number for application of zero VAT rate
A customer’s valid VAT identification number is currently a formal requirement for applying the zero VAT rate to intra-Community supplies of goods. However, it has been settled by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) that, in principle, a taxable person only has to comply with the material conditions in order to apply the zero VAT rate. Therefore, the zero VAT rate cannot formally be refused due to the mere fact that a taxable person did not receive a valid VAT identification number from its customer.
Under the new rules, the use of a valid VAT identification number that the customer communicated to the supplier will be regarded as a material requirement for applying the zero VAT rate. If a supplier fails to state the customer’s valid VAT identification number on the invoice, it will no longer be possible to apply the zero VAT rate as of 1 January 2020. Furthermore, as a condition for applying the zero VAT rate, the taxable person must file an EC sales list.
Simplified proof of intra-Community supplies
The fourth quick fix provides for the harmonization and simplification of the rules on proof of transport for the purposes of applying the zero VAT rate to intra-Community supplies. To be eligible for the zero VAT rate, taxable persons must, for example, prove that the goods were dispatched from one EU Member State to another EU Member State. EU Member States currently maintain different rules to prove this transport, and this leads to uncertainty and significant administrative expense for businesses with cross-border trade. According to the new rules, there is a rebuttable presumption of transport to another EU Member State if the supplier can provide at least two non-contradictory evidential documents that were prepared independently from one another. This may include signed CMR documents, together with a copy of payment for transport issued by the bank. Logistics service providers are expected to play an even more important role under the new rules in respect of the provision of proof for the purposes of applying the zero VAT rate.
Businesses involved with cross-border goods transport need to consider how the new VAT rules could affect their transactions in 2020. Prompt action may be essential, given that organizing the administrative and order processes as well as the ERP systems will require time and resources—and not forgetting the fact that tax authorities worldwide are tending more toward digitalisation. The requirements for the collection, analysis, and actual retention of data are rapidly increasing. This means that tax authorities expect taxpayers to implement changes to regulations promptly and correctly within their business.
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Statistics have been made available by the European Commission concerning the VAT Mini One-Stop-Shop (“MOSS”) for the period from 2015 – 2018. The MOSS was introduced in 2015 as a means to collect VAT on telecommunications, broadcasting and electronic services.
The statistics show a significant increase in VAT collected, from 2.7 billion Euro in 2015 to 4.1 billion Euro in 2018 within the EU. Collection increased by over 20% between 2017 and 2018 alone. The statistics also show that the total number of traders registered on MOSS also increased steadily each year.
From 2021 onwards, the MOSS will also be used to collect VAT on distance sale of goods, and concerning services supplied to consumers in the EU.