with No Comments

Exportation with no customs document

The failure to comply with the formal requirement of placing the goods intended to be exported under the export customs procedure cannot lead to the exporter losing his right to the VAT exemption on export, provided that it is established that the goods concerned have actually left the territory of the European Union (28/03/2019, C‑275/18).

In the case at hand, the goods concerned were dispatched by post and that is the reason why the customs documents were not established. However, the substance-over-form concept may definitely be extended to other situations where customs documents are missing, provided of course that alternative proofs of dispatch are available.

Place of taxation of services in respect of admission to events

Article 53 of the EU VAT Directive provides that the place of supply of services in respect of admission to events, including educational events, supplied to a taxable person is the place where those events actually take place. As a consequence thereof, VAT becomes due in that country.

Some member states have however adopted diverging and confusing administrative positions, which usually aim at considering that the services in respect to admission to events are subject to the default B2B rule (article 44 of the EU VAT directive) under specific circumstances. The local authorities have indeed introduced factual criteria (e.g. the duration, the fact that the event is open "to the public" or not, …) for determining whether an event should be subject to local VAT or not. However, these rather far-fetched criteria do not appear in the text of the European VAT Directive.

The Court has just recalled that the services covered by the rule covering the access to educational and scientific events, such as conferences and seminars, include services whose essential characteristics are to grant a right of access to an event in exchange for a ticket or remuneration. This is notably the case for professional training. According to the Court, the fact that these courses were the subject of registration and a prior payment is irrelevant (13/03/2019, C-647/17).

This judgment invalidates the administrative positions taken by some countries, which determine the place of taxation of such services based on the number of days of the event or other criteria not provided for in the Directive.