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European Council adopts short-term fixes to current EU VAT system

Dec 05, 2018
On 4 December, the European Council adopted three short legislative acts aimed at adjusting some of the EU's VAT rules in order to fix four specific issues pending the introduction of a new VAT system.

These relate to:
  • Call-off stock. The text provides for a simplified and uniform treatment for call-off stock arrangements, where a vendor transfers stock to a warehouse at the disposal of a known acquirer in another member state;
  • The VAT identification number. To benefit from a VAT exemption for the intra-EU supply of goods, the identification number of the customer will become an additional condition;
  • Chain transactions. To enhance legal certainty in determining the VAT treatment of chain transactions, the texts establish uniform criteria; and
  • Proof of intra-EU supply. A common framework is established for the documentary evidence required to claim a VAT exemption for intra-EU supplies.
These adjustments are due to apply from 1 January 2020.

In parallel, discussions are ongoing on a definitive VAT system to replace the current 'transitional' VAT arrangements, applied since 1993. Pending introduction of the new system, four short-term 'quick fixes' are proposed.

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Source: European Council.