Reduced VAT rate e-publications

As of 2020, the reduced VAT rate (9%) will be introduced to the supply of e-publications (such as e-books, journals and periodicals) and granting of access to news websites. Currently, the reduced VAT rate only applies to publications on paper. Following a recent change in the VAT directive, this category will also be extended to include digital publications. The current different VAT treatment of physical and digital publications will then cease to exist.

No zero rate without correct VAT identification number

A correct VAT identification number of one's customer will become an absolute condition for the use of the zero rate. This number must be mentioned on the invoices and reported in the EU sales listings. Any (unintentional) mistake will entitle the tax authorities to levy an additional amount of VAT. This measure clearly puts an additional risk on businesses and will not simplify trade.

Harmonized EU regime for call-off stock

The existing Dutch policy for intra-Community call-off transactions and consignment sales will be replaced by a harmonized EU regime. Under a call-off transaction, products are stored on the premises of a prospective customer, awaiting final supply to the customer. If such customer is located in another Member State, the mere transfer of the products may trigger an obligation to register in that other Member State. Once the sale is made, a local supply should be reported. Currently, most (but not all) Member States offer practical arrangements under which the final sale may be reported as an intra-Community transaction so that registration in the country of the customer is avoided altogether. This patchwork of practical call-off arrangements is now replaced by a harmonized EU regime. Under this regime, the transfer of products to the other Member State must be reported in a special register. Once the sale is made, the supplier must report an intra-Community to its customer in the other Member State. The customer, on its turn, will then be obliged to report an intra-Community acquisition. The regime only applies if the products are sold and supplied within twelve months after their transport.

Rules for intra-Community chain transactions

An intra-Community chain transaction occurs when products are sold between several parties and — eventually — shipped to a seller in another Member State. In such a case, each sale represents a VAT relevant supply. However, as a result of this chain of sales and supplies, the products are shipped to another Member State. This transport should be linked to only one of the supplies. This supply is then an intra-Community supply, while the other supplies in the chain are local supplies. In practice, it is often uncertain to which transaction the transport must be linked. The existing case law of the CJEU does not provide certainty in all cases. The current quick fix, which will be implemented in the Dutch VAT Act, provides practical rules. Under the new regime the transport should be linked to the supply made to the party which arranges the intra-community transport of the products. This transporting party will thus perform an intra-Community acquisition in the country where the products arrive. If, however, this transporting party is VAT registered in the Member State from which the product is sent and if this transporting party provides its supplier with this VAT registration number, the supply to the transporting party is a local supply in the country of departure. The subsequent supply by the transporting party will then be the intra-Community supply