Court of Justice of the European Union

Judgment of 2 July 2015 

Case C-334/14

In the Judgment in question, rendered in the context of a reference for a preliminary ruling, the Court of Justice of the European Union decides that, for purposes of exemption from VAT, the transport of human organs and samples of human origin is not considered to be an activity closely related to hospital or medical care, where the medical care provided in a hospital environment to which those activities are merely potentially related has not been performed, commenced or yet envisaged.

Moreover a self-employed transporter is not an individualised entity perfo rming the same type of particular function as hospitals or centres for medical treatment or diagnosis and cannot be characterised as an establishment of a similar nature to those establishments or centres and, consequently, does not qualify for a VAT exemp tion.

Court of Justice of the European Union

Judgment of 2 July 2015 

Case C-209/14

In the Judgment in question, rendered in the context of a reference for a preliminary ruling, the Court of Justice of the European Union claims that, for purposes of VAT, a financial leasing agreement relating to immovable property must be treated as an acquisition of goods when (i) the agreement foresees the transfer of ownership on the term of the contract, or (ii) substantially all the risks and rewards of legal ownershi p are transferred to the lessee.

The Court of Justice of the European Union also states that a taxpayer can only reduce the taxable amount of a transaction, and consequently settle the VAT, where that person has in fact received all the payments in consideration for the service which he supplied, or where, for some reason, the other party to the contact is no longer liable for the agreed price without the agreement having been resolved or declared null and void.

Finally, the Court of Justice of the European Union decides that the principle of tax neutrality does not preclude the autonomous VAT treatment of financial leasing relating to immovable property and of the sale of that property to a third person, where those transactions cannot be regarded as forming a single supply.

Court of Justice of the European Union

Judgment of 9 July 2015 

Case C-183/14

In the Judgment in reference, rendered in the context of a reference for a preliminary ruling, the Court of Justice of the European Union claims that the fact that national tax authorities had not made certain property transactions subject to VAT in a systematic manner does not in principle suffice, except in very specific circumstances, to give rise, in the mind of a prudent and well-informed trader, to a reasonable expectation that that tax would not be levied on such transactions – and thus benefit from the protection of principles of legal certainty and of protection of legitimate expectations –, since applicable national law on the date of the facts was clear and foreseeable in this regard. This clarity and foreseeability are not affected by the fact that case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union had not been published in the language of the country in question at the date when the facts occurred.

The Court of Justice of the European Union also claims that the right to deduct input VAT cannot be refused if substantive requirements are satisfied, even if some formal requirements have not been met. It thus considers that registering for VAT purposes and the obligation to state when activity commences, changes or ceases are only formal requirements for the purposes of control, that cannot undermine the right to deduct VAT if the substantive conditions which give rise to that right are satisfied.

Thus, the Court of Justice of the European Union decides that a VAT taxpayer cannot be prevented from exercising his right of deduction on the ground that he was not identified as a taxable person for those purposes before using the goods purchased in th e context of his taxed activity, since this penalty would go further than necessary to attain the objective of ensuring the correct application of those obligations and to prevent tax evasion.

Court of Justice of the European Union

Judgment of 9 July 2015 

Case no. C-331/14

In the Judgment in reference, rendered in the context of a reference for a preliminary ruling, the Court of Justice of the European Union claims that the owner simply exercising the right of ownership cannot in itself be regarded as an economic activity. 

However, to ensure that the sale of a property is not subject to VAT, it must have been formed part of the personal assets of the owner and sale cannot be made in the course of all his economic activities, being necessary to included it within the scope of the management and administration of his personal wealth.

In this context, the Court of Justice of the European Union decides that the property sales operations using means similar to those used by a trader or service provider would lead to the conclusion that the resulting sale was not part of the management of the owner’s personal wealth corresponding instead to an economic activity subject to VAT.

Court of Justice of the European Union

Judgment of 16 July 2015 

Cases C-108/14 and C-109/14

In the Judgment in question, rendered in the context of a reference for a preliminary ruling, the Court of Justice of the European Union claims that the acquisition and holding of shares by a holding company constitute economic activities for VAT purposes if that company is involved in the management of the companies whose shareholdings it acquired (provision of administrative, financial, commercial and technical services by the holding company to its subsidiaries).

This being the case, the acquisition costs of shareholdings in subsidiaries form part of the overheads of the holding company, for which reason the corresponding VAT can be fully deducted, provided the other requirements for this purpose are satisfied.

Court of Justice of the European Union

Judgment of 16 July 2015 

Case no. C-584/13

In the Judgment in question, rendered in the context of a reference for a preliminary ruling, the Court of Justice of the European Union claims that the provision of a service that consists of a warranty covering mechanical breakdowns which may affect cert ain parts of that vehicle by an economic operator which is independent from the second- hand motor-vehicle dealer, in return for payment of a lump sum, constitutes an exempt insurance transaction. This conclusion is independent of whether the insurance cont ract was entered into by the guarantor and the purchaser of the vehicle, of the dealer having acted as intermediary, or even if it entered into this contract directly with the guarantor and subsequently transferred the resulting rights and obligations to t he purchaser of the vehicle.

The Court of Justice of the European Union also claims that the provision of these warranty services and the sale of the vehicle must, in principle, be considered distinct and independent transactions for VAT purposes.