The workshops

During the workshops, topics will be discussed in small groups using examples and real-life case studies in order to maintain a high level of quality. The aim is to have a mixture of as many different nationalities as possible at each workshop. All workshops are in principle led by two VAT experts from different countries with several years of experience in the field of VAT. The outcome of each workshop depends on the interest of the participants. Participants are very much invited to raise questions about practical issues. The number of participants per workshop is strictly limited to 16 persons.

Split payments
by Alessandro Portale (IT) partner at Studio Portale and Dorota Baczewska (PL), partner at Independent Tax Advisors

In Austria, the split payment system has existed for years, but businesses are still insufficiently aware of it. Recently, Poland announced that it would implement a split payment system of its own, and in Italy the split payment system will be extended from 1 July 2017 onwards.

Although all the systems above are called “split payment”, they are very different.
During this workshop, we will discuss how split payment fits into the current EU VAT Directive and how the current split payment systems work in the different Member States where they are already applied in some way.

This workshop is a must for businesses that work in those Member States, as well as for forward-looking VAT practitioners. For years, the application of split payment has been discussed at EU level as a means to improve and simplify the collection of VAT, and it currently seems very likely that more and more Member States will opt to implement some form of split payment system in the coming years.

Drop shipments
by Marja van den Oetelaar (NL), partner at Het BTW Advies Kantoor and Milan Vargan (SK), partner at Tax systems

The term ‘drop shipments’ is often used to mean ‘supplies without transport by the supplier’. This means that, when it comes to applying the exemption, the supplier often has major difficulties in obtaining proof that, firstly, its direct customer collected the goods and, secondly, where the goods have been shipped to. Moreover, drop shipments are often part of a chain.
In order to determine the VAT treatment applicable to supplies of goods, it is vital to know whether or not the goods have been transported, and to be aware of which person is responsible for transportation. Incoterms are often used for this purpose, but in what circumstances is it possible to link a single VAT treatment to one Incoterm? What are the issues one should pay attention to when using Incoterms to decide on the VAT treatment?

Proof of B2B supply of services based on EU legislation and ECJ jurisprudence
by Dorota Baczewska (PL), Independent Tax Advisors and Pablo Lujan (ES), partner at IVA Consulta

Article 44 of the EU VAT Directive states that the place of supply is where the customer is established. However some derogations still exist, whereby the place of supply is deemed to be where the immovable property is located, where the service is physically performed, etc.
What EU legislation, regulations and ECJ cases can be invoked to prove where the supply is deemed to take place? How should you use the available means to prove the place of supply of B2B services?
During the workshop you will be guided through the different forms of proof and how to approach the issue in itself.

Holding companies & VAT
by Alexis Tsielepis (CY), managing director of Chelco VAT and Thierry Derochette (LU), partner at Tax Connected)

There is no specific legislation in respect of holding companies in the EU VAT Directive. As well as applying the general provision in the EU VAT Directive, the ECJ case law also needs to be looked into in order to understand how VAT affects holding companies. Yet trying to make sense of it all is not an easy task given that ECJ case law is spread across 30 years and has been evolving a lot. This workshop will analyse and explain the main principles relevant to this area, including when a holding company is considered to be a taxable person, the treatment of dividend income, economic versus non-economic activities, to what extent the right of deduction applies when a holding company issues, buys or sells shares and much more.

New reporting obligations in Italy: how to comply and avoid problems?
by Alessandro Portale (IT) partner at Studio Portale

In Italy, a new periodic VAT return has been introduced, called the “Comunicazione liquidazioni periodiche IVA”. Further, there a new quarterly return of invoice data has also been introduced, “dati delle fatture”, to be submitted to the Italian tax authorities.
What is the impact of these new reporting obligations? What are the penalties for non-compliance?
What is the relation with the monthly payments to be made? Is it still necessary to file the annual return with VAT data and the annual VAT return itself? Do you still need to file the “IVA TR” return if you wish to obtain a VAT refund on a quarterly basis instead of at the end of the year?
Are there any optimisation possibilities in respect of the various Italian VAT returns? What figures must absolutely match across the different returns?
During the workshop all the above will be discussed with a view to guiding taxable persons in order to avoid problems in Italy.

Invoices showing undue VAT: what are the risks?
by Frank Borger (BE), director of the VAT HOUSE and Tania Pavlova (BG), Partner at Taxacta

There are different situations in which invoices can show VAT that is not due, for example:

  • If the wrong VAT rate is used (a rate that is too high)
  • If VAT is charged where the reverse charge is applicable
  • If VAT is charged where the supply is exempt from VAT
  • If VAT is charged where the supply is not taxable

In recent years, the European Court of Justice has made some important judgements concerning the neutrality of VAT, such as the Malburg Case, C 204/13, in 2014 and the GST-Sarviz Case, C-111/14, in 2015.
During this workshop, we will discuss the action to be taken, which will depend on the situation and on the obligations applicable in the various Member States, when undue VAT is discovered on the invoice.

Fixed establishments / permanent establishments
by Cristian Radulescu (RO), partner at Taxhouse and Alexis Tsielepis (CY), managing director of Chelco VAT

There is a general misapprehension of the fixed establishment concept, especially by tax authorities: there is no legal foundation for tax authorities to acknowledge the existence of a fixed establishment because of the existence of a permanent establishment. They are not the same concepts. The temptation is often to derive the definition of the fixed establishment from that of the permanent establishment, or even to treat them as synonyms, overlooking the very different environment in which they operate for their very different purpose. Ultimately they are different concepts with different underlying purposes: the permanent establishment being a world-wide direct tax concept, aimed at redistributing taxing rights between two contracting states through international double tax treaties, and the fixed establishment merely a VAT concept within the EU providing for uniform VAT treatment across the EU Member States.

Welmory ECJ Case: the fixed establishment concept and its consequences
by Pär Sundberg (SE), partner at Skeppsbron Skat and Thomas Pühringer (AT), owner of Pühringer Tax Consulting

In the Welmory Case (C-605/12), the ECJ concluded that a first taxable person that has established its business in one Member State, and receives services supplied by a second taxable person established in another Member State, must be regarded as having a ‘fixed establishment’ within the meaning of Article 44 of the EU VAT Directive, in that other Member State, for the purpose of determining the place of taxation of those services, if that establishment is characterised by a sufficient degree of permanence and a suitable structure in terms of human and technical resources to enable it to receive the services supplied to it and use them for its business, which is for the referring court to ascertain. How far-reaching is this ECJ conclusion? What is the impact of this ECJ case on the extent to which a company can be considered to have a fixed establishment in a Member State for only supplying services or only receiving services? When is a fixed establishment assumed to have a sufficient degree of permanence and human and technical resources? When is a fixed establishment assumed to intervene?
Transfer pricing: how to tackle backward and forward pricing adjustments
by Fernando Matesanz (ES), owner of Spanish VAT Services Asesores SL and Thomas Pühringer (AT), owner of Pühringer Tax Consulting

Indirect taxes are normally handled separately from transfer pricing issues. However, there are some situations where the transfer pricing rules can have a direct or indirect impact on VAT and Customs duties.
Transfer pricing adjustments are related to the original supply of the goods or services and can be done as a forward adjustment or as a backward adjustment on a monthly, quarterly or yearly basis.

This will lead to the correction of VAT returns and VIES listings in some Member States.

Call-off stocks versus consignment stocks versus transfers of own goods
by Pär Sundberg (SE), partner at Skeppsbron Skat and by Cristian Radulescu (RO), partner at Taxhouse

Many businesses keep stocks abroad in order to be able to make just-in-time supplies to their customers. The trade-off is then often made between obtaining a VAT registration number and making transfers of their own goods or applying a specific consignment or call-off scheme where it is possible.
What Member States have special rules for call-off stocks and consignment stocks?
Should businesses keep registers of goods sent abroad on consignment or call-off?
What liability rules apply?
How should call-off stocks and consignment stocks be reported in the VAT return of the sender and the receiver? What about Intrastat and quarterly sales listing obligations?
What are the obligations of the receiver of the call-off stocks and consignment stocks?
Or is transferring own goods still the preferred option even in case simplifications for call-off stocks or consignment stocks exist?

Logistics services: transport, storage etc.
by Marja van den Oetelaar (NL), partner at Het BTW Advies Kantoor and Alina Zarzu (RO), managing partner at TaxSense

Transport services, whether performed within one Member States, between Member States or to or from third countries, fall within the scope of article 44 of the EU VAT Directive in order to determine the place of supply. However, the concept of logistics services goes beyond the definition of transport services. Storage activities are an obvious example, but there may be others as well.
What is the impact of the use and enjoyment rules? In what countries do they apply to (certain) logistics services?

If logistics services are related to the exportation or importation of goods, to what extent are they exempt and what kind of exemption applies? And if they are not exempt, who is liable to pay the VAT?

Chain transactions with four parties
by Els Meynendonckx (BE), partner at THE VAT HOUSE and Milan Vargan (SK), partner at Tax Systems (Thursday) or Azra Begič Milanez (SI), Partner at ATI (Monday).

The provisions of VAT Directive 2006/112/EC determine the place of supply when goods are transported and when they are not. Furthermore, a simplification for triangular transactions is provided for cases where the goods are shipped from one Member State to another but sold twice, under well-defined conditions. But how should the conditions of the Directive be applied to chain transactions involving four parties registered in three different Member States? And what if those four parties are registered in four different Member States?

Since the provisions of the Directive are not clear on all these points, the ECJ has also intervened a couple of times to clarify chain transactions. The major cases in this respect are C-245/04, EMAG Handel Eder and C-430/09, Euro Tyre Holding. What is the impact of these cases on the treatment of chain transactions?

Deduction of VAT on intra-Community acquisitions and purchases under the reverse charge mechanism
by Tania Pavlova (BG), Partner at Taxacta and Wouter Baes (FR), VAT Director at RFN.

In order to exercise the right to deduct VAT on the intra-Community acquisition of goods, a taxable person must provide all the information needed in the VAT return for the amount of VAT due on their intra-Community acquisitions of goods. The taxable person must also be in possession of valid invoices. For transfers of goods, the Member States can impose formalities for exercising the right to deduct the VAT.

To deduct VAT on purchases under the reverse charge mechanism, including the purchase of goods under simplified triangulation and domestic purchases under the reverse charge mechanism, the formalities imposed by each Member State must be complied with.

In this respect, the ECJ ruled in the Bockemühl C-90/02 case that the power to impose formalities must be exercised to ensure the collection of VAT and its verification by the tax authority; the number or technical nature of these formalities must not make it practically impossible or excessively difficult to exercise the right to deduct.

Furthermore, the ECJ also ruled in joined cases C 95/07 and C 96/07 (Ecotrade) that obligations arising from formalities laid down in national legislation and the obligations relating to accounts and tax returns cannot lead to the denial of the right to deduct in the case of a reverse charge procedure.

Skandia America ECJ Case: supplies to members of VAT group and the risks involved when recharging
by Patrick Wille (BE), President of VAT Forum

In the Skandia America Case (C-7/13), the ECJ concluded that the supply of services from a main establishment in a third country to its branch in a Member State who belongs to a VAT group constitutes a taxable transaction and that the purchaser of those services, becomes liable for the value added tax payable.
How far can this conclusion reach? Why was the root of the transaction, namely the recharging of services (FCE Bank Case C-210/04) not dealt with? What is the impact of this ECJ case when recharging costs within the group and to third parties?

Who is the actual receiver of the service if the invoice is addressed to the head office, but the service is used (consumed) by a fixed establishment in another country. What if this service is recharged by the head office to the fixed establishment? How should the place of supply and liability rules for VAT be applied?

The commissionaire structure / agent structure
by Stamatis Papahimonas (GR), managing partner at A&P Tax and Finance and Azra Begič Milanez (SI), Partner at ATI.

More and more international groups are restructuring their sales activities using undisclosed and disclosed agent structures or a mixture of both. What is the difference between disclosed and undisclosed agents? How are profit margins and fees invoiced? Furthermore, article 28 of the EU VAT Directive states that ‘where a taxable person acting in his own name but on behalf of another person takes part in a supply of services, he shall be deemed to have received and supplied those services himself’. The EU VAT Directive does not provide this provision for the supply of goods. In this respect, the ECJ ruled in case C-185/01, Auto Lease Holland BV v Bundesamt für Finanzen, that ‘there is not a supply of fuel by the lessor of a vehicle to the lessee where the lessee fills up at filling stations the vehicle which is the subject matter of a leasing contract, even if the vehicle is filled up in the name and at the expense of that lessor’. Article 30 of Regulation 282/2011, in respect of the intermediary services referred to in article 46 of the EU VAT Directive to non-taxable persons acting in the name and on behalf of another person, will also be discussed briefly.