Recently, the Austrian Ministry of Finance and the German Ministry of Finance concluded a consultation agreement regarding administrative cooperation in the field of information exchange on VAT.
Pursuant to art. 15(1) of the Treaty between Austria and Germany on Legal Assistance in Tax Matters, which was adopted on 4 October 1954 ("Treaty 1954''), the respective Ministries of Finance of both contracting states may directly interact with respect to questions resulting from said instrument. Based on this provision, the competent authorities of Austria and Germany have recently entered into a Consultation Agreement regarding Administrative Cooperation in the Field of Information Exchange on VAT ("Consultation Agreement'').
The Consultation Agreement especially emphasises that the VAT rules set out in Council Regulation (EU) No 904/2010 of 7 October 2010 ("Regulation'') shall prevail over the provisions in the Treaty 1954. This means that the rules on administrative assistance by way of exchange of information on tax matters contained in the latter cease to apply. The Treaty 1954 only remains applicable with respect to administrative enquiries between local tax offices in urgent cases (and provided that this exchange does not fall under the electronic exchange of information as set out in the Regulation). Pursuant to the Regulation, requests for information as well as corresponding responses, automatic and spontaneous exchanges of information as well as correlating feedback are to be remitted electronically by using a special standardised form.