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, as a Partner, was responsible for the Indirect Tax (VAT Customs) practice and then for the Tax Litigation practice dedicated to assisting clients in national and EU litigation. […]

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. He regularly assists his clients in the […]

Nicolas Kazandjian

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

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 Gerometta is Indirect Tax Partner of Deloitte Société d’Avocats. She advises international groups on their indirect tax issues. Anne notably assists operators from the Financial Sector – bank, insurance […]

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 […]