Refusal to grant a tax exemption to an intra-community supply due to the absence of VAT identification number in the country of arrival

Can Member States refuse to grant a tax exemption in respect of an intra-Community supply (in this instance, an intra-Community transfer) when the VAT identification number (in the country of arrival) is missing on the invoice while there is no specific evidence of tax evasion, the goods have been moved to another Member State and the other conditions of exemption from tax are also met?

In dealing with this question, the ECJ replied negatively and reminded the two situations in which the failure to meet a formal requirement may result in the loss of entitlement to an exemption from VAT decided by an authority of a Member State, that is (i) when the taxable person has intentionally participated in tax evasion which has jeopardized the operation of the common system of VAT and (ii) the non-compliance with a formal requirement which would effectively prevent the production of conclusive evidence that the substantive requirements have been satisfied.

This judgment is in line with a recent inclination of the ECJ to give less consideration to the formal requirements laid down in the VAT rules, such as in the recent case Senatex (C-518/14) regarding the statements required on invoices (see our previous article).

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 […]

Odile Courjon

Odile Courjon, Partner, has developed a strong expertise in indirect tax issues (VAT, wage taxes, excise taxes, export control and customs) in France and overseas. She advises her clients in […]

Bertrand Jeannin

Bertrand Jeannin, Partner, supplies strategic and technical advice to French and foreign multinational groups in all aspects of their VAT and customs policies. Major focuses of Bertrand’s input involve the […]

William Stemmer

William Stemmer, Partner, has more than 15 years’ experience in Indirect Tax matters. William particularly specializes in the real estate and financial sectors. William is a lecturer at the University […]

Nicolas Kazandjian

Barrister registered with the Hauts-de-Seine Bar, he started my career in the indirect tax service line of Deloitte Taj in 1999. My current position is Director. My area of expertise […]

Vanessa Irigoyen

With more than 16 years of experience, Vanessa has extensive expertise in the implementation of international efficiency business models for customs, export control and indirect tax purposes. Her functions notably […]

Anne Gerometta

Anne, Managing Director, has been advising companies on indirect tax issues for more than 17 years. Anne is in charge of the FSI sector (Bank, Insurance, Asset Management) within TAJ […]

Delphine Nicault

Delphine Nicault is an Attorney-at-Law at the French Bar. She joined Deloitte in 2002 and assists her clients on day-to-day VAT issues. She developed an expertise in the VAT and […]