VAT | 11. August 2020

Interim balance: A review of the tax year so far

The year 2020 put a stop to many plans. The VAT reform is also affected. We have summarised the most important developments - planned and unplanned - for e-commerce in recent months. by

02 Rückblick Steuerjahr 2020 2880x1400 1 scaled
02 Rückblick Steuerjahr 2020 2880x1400 1 scaled

As intended, the four quick fixes for the VAT reform came into force at the beginning of 2020. While the EU continues to work on a definitive VAT system for member states, the quick fixes represent a transition. The regulations for consignment stocks have now been regulated uniformly throughout the EU for the first time, as have the chain transactionsIntra-Community deliveries are now only exempt from tax if the supplier provides a correct VAT identification number of the customer in the country of destination. For this reason, it is necessary to check this VAT identification number. To avoid paying VAT on intra-Community deliveries, the supplier must prove that the goods have crossed the borders within the EU. The proof of delivery has been simplified: two non-contradictory transport documents from the supplier and the purchaser are sufficient. ClearVAT has published CheckVAT ID, a product for audit-proof verification of the VAT identification number.

EU postpones reforms due to coronavirus pandemic

At the end of May, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath, the EU postponed the implementation of the VAT package from January 2021 by six months to July 2021. It is a further step towards the definitive EU VAT system. It includes various reforms, such as introducing a one-stop shop for VAT registration of companies selling goods cross-border. Furthermore, online marketplaces will be included in the supply chain and subject to VAT from July 2021. Even if the platform operator only acts as an intermediary between supplier and recipient, he will be treated as if he had received the supply and then sent it out. This fiction means that there are two deliveries for VAT purposes.

Reductions of VAT in Europe

To stimulate the economy after the coronavirus-induced economic collapse, countries also temporarily lowered national VAT rates. Germany took the first step. Here, the standard VAT rate of 16% and a reduced rate of 5% have been in force since July 2020 and will be applicable for six months. Austria introduced a reduced tax rate of 5%, which applies mainly to sales in the catering trade and the sale of publications of all kinds (Chapter 49 of the EU’s uniform customs tariff). These changes will apply temporarily from July 2020 until 31 December 2020. In Ireland, the government representatives also temporarily reduced the standard rate from 23% to 21%. However, the reduced tax rate remains unchanged. The changes take effect on 1 September.

ClearVAT responds to changes like these with its VATRules solution, a dynamically updated database of European tax rates.

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