EU: VAT-news

European Commission – Further Developments regarding the One Stop Shop aimed for 2015

On 13 January 2012 the Commission accepted a proposal regarding the broadening of the one stop shop for non-established taxable persons (both EU and non-EU) supplying telecommunication, broadcasting and electronic services to non-taxable customers.

As previously reported, from 2015, all telecommunications, broadcasting and electronic services are to be taxed in the Member State in which the non-taxable customer is established, or has his permanent address, or usual residence, regardless of where the supplier of the services is established.

However, as is currently the case for non-EU suppliers providing electronically supplied services to non-business customers in the EU, taxable suppliers would have the option to make use of a special scheme, i.e. the One Stop Shop. This would allow the taxable suppliers to only account for the VAT in the EU Member State in which they are established, without having to register for VAT in various other EU countries where their customers are located.

Austria – Limitation to the application of the reverse charge mechanism for non-established suppliers organizing fairs, exhibitions, conferences or congresses

With effect from 1 January 2012, non-established suppliers that organize a fair, exhibition, conference or congress in Austria and charge attendance fees will no longer be able to avail of the extended domestic reverse charge mechanism in Austria with respect to the event registration / attendance / entry fees.

Events with only selected attendees (events not open to the public) are not affected and therefore, the extended domestic reverse charge mechanism continues to apply on such event registration / attendance / entry fees.

Cyprus – Increase standard VAT rate by 2% from 1 March 2012

The standard VAT rate of Cyprus will increase to 17%, from 15%, and will come into force from 1 March 2012. There will be no change to the reduced VAT rates of 5% and 8%.

France – President Nicolas Sarkozy is to raise the VAT rate to 21.2%

The French President has announced an increase in the standard VAT rate from 19.6% to 21.2%, which will be due to come into force in October 2012, It has been approved by Parliament on 29 February 2012 and now still needs to be validated by the Constitutional Council.

France – Clarification on the application of the new reduced rate of 7%

The new reduced rate of 7% will apply to all goods and services that were previously subject to the 5.5% VAT rate, with the exception of foodstuff, gas and electricity, energy supply networks, and goods and services for disabled persons that will remain at the 5.5% VAT rate.

The increase in the reduced VAT rate is effective from 1 January 2012, except in relation to paper books which has been delayed to 1 April 2012.

The French Government have also clarified that prepared food ready for consumption (sandwiches, pizza) will be subject to the new 7% VAT rate.

Norway – VAT Updates

A significant change has been introduced in Norway in respect to VAT refunds through the refund scheme available to businesses involved in international transport services. Pursuant to a statement issued by the Ministry of Finance, companies without an establishment in Norway that carry out cross- border transport services are liable to register for VAT in Norway, subject to the standard registration thresholds.

In light of the above businesses will no longer be entitled to recover input VAT incurred in Norway via the refund scheme. Instead, Norwegian VAT incurred will only be deductible via local VAT returns by businesses who successfully register for Norwegian VAT purposes.

Despite this statement being announced by the Ministry of Finance only recently, the changes apply retrospectively with effect from 1 January 2010.

With effect from 1 January 2012 the online submission of VAT returns has become mandatory in Norway.  The Norwegian VAT authorities will no longer issue paper based VAT returns but in special cases taxable persons may be allowed to continue submitting paper returns if they can convince the tax authority that they cannot make electronic filings due to practical considerations.

The VAT rate on nutrients/foodstuffs has been increased from 14% to 15% with effect from 1 January 2012.

UK – Registration threshold to become NIL

Effective from 1 December 2012, non-established businesses will be required to register immediately if they make taxable supplies in the UK as the UK VAT registration threshold, currently £73,000, will no longer apply to non-established businesses.

Author: Tamás Bajor, Vienna Consult Kft.,