Exempt Intra-Community supplies and chain transactions

Further to a preliminary query, the CJEU considered that in the case of two successive sales with a single intra-Community transport carried out by the final purchaser, the second transfer of the power to dispose of the goods as the owner occurred before the intra-Community transport, which cannot be linked to the first sale.

It is therefore the second delivery, which must be qualified as an intra-Community supply, even though the first seller, unaware of the second sale, initially exempted the sale to the buyer-reseller, who communicated its VAT number in the Member State of destination of the goods.

Moreover, the final purchaser, who’s deduction right for the VAT invoiced by the buyer-reseller was challenged and could not turn against the buyer-reseller because of the insolvency of the latter, could not invoke the principle of legitimate expectations for invoices charged (erroneously) with VAT by the buyer-reseller, the opposability of that principle being reserved for positions of the tax authorities.

The CJEU had strictly applied the principles set out in its previous decisions. Companies must anticipate and check sales terms.

Michel Guichard

Michel Guichard, Partner, leads the Indirect Tax activity. With more than 30 years’ experience in International and French Tax law, he advises his clients on indirect tax matters. Michel is […]