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European court of Justice : Importation exempt from VAT in case of subsequent intra-EU supply

Exemption from VAT on importation is subject to the importer subsequently making an intra-Community supply which is itself exempt from VAT. Substantive conditions have to be met in that respect.

The mere fact that the import exemption was authorised by the relevant customs authority, after a prior examination was carried out, cannot be such as to preclude any possibility of demanding payment of the import VAT after the event if it appears that the importer participated in tax evasion or failed to act diligently in order to avoid that participation.

On the contrary, if the taxable person concerned neither knew nor could have known that the supply subsequent to the imports was part of a fraud committed by the purchaser and that the taxable person had taken all reasonable steps in his power to prevent that fraud from being committed, the authorities cannot refuse the benefit of the import exemption (25/10/2018, C-528/17).

European court of Justice : Share disposal transaction, envisaged but not carried out

A share disposal transaction for which the direct and exclusive reason does not lie in the taxable economic activity of the company concerned, or which does not constitute the direct, permanent and necessary extension of that economic activity, does not come within the scope of VAT. It follows that the VAT relating to the disputed services is not deductible.

According to the Court, this is valid even if the intended sale was not completed. In that context, the important point is the fact that, had that sale been completed, the expenditure incurred in relation to the disputed services would not, in any event, have come within the scope of VAT and, therefore, could not have given rise to a right to deduct (08/11/2018, C-502/17).