VAT | 4. October 2021

Lea’s VAT rules Update for October

Different VAT rates for identical products? Sometimes difficult to comprehend for merchants who deliver cross-border. Examples presented monthly here. by

Beitragsbild_Leas VAT Update Oktober

With my VAT rules Update, I provide information on VAT rules that often seem confusing and difficult to understand for consumers and merchants alike. The current issue brings together two products that could not be more different: Ice cream and disinfectants.

Ice cream in Malta

Malta taxes ice cream sold in family packs of at least 350g at a reduced VAT rate of 5%. On the other hand, ice cream sold in smaller amounts is taxed at the standard VAT rate of 18%. How does the rest of the EU deal with this? 16 EU countries consider ice cream to be a foodstuff that is generally taxed with a reduced VAT rate – the remaining countries, however, are a bit more nutrition-conscious here and tax ice cream at the standard VAT rate.

Disinfectant in Portugal and Belgium

Not all disinfectants are the same – at least that is how the EU countries see it with regard to the Covid 19 reductions in VAT. Portugal has reduced the VAT rate for hydroalcoholic gels for hands if they contain either at least 70% ethyl alcohol or at least 75% isopropyl alcohol. Belgium takes a more relaxed view and has a generally reduced VAT rate for hydroalcoholic gels for hands. But beware: not only the differences in the nature of the product are relevant to determine the correct VAT rate – the limited period of these VAT reductions must also be taken into account!


Lea-Luisa Blase
Lea-Luisa Blase successfully completed her master's degree in business and tax law at the University of Potsdam. She then worked as a tax assistant at BDO AG Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft. As an editorial project manager, she then expanded her profession at an online seminar provider specifically for the tax sector and is currently employed at eClear as a VAT consultant in the internal tax department. She also prepares the content for the eClear VATRules, which contain more than 1.2 million tax codes including all exceptions, reductions and exemptions.
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