One of four areas under the EU’s value added tax (VAT) “quick fixes” concerns simplified proof for intra-Community supplies.
The EU Council in December 2018 adopted the “VAT quick fixes” that are intended to simplify international trade and to be implemented by the EU Member States by 1 January 2020.
The VAT quick fixes concern the following four items:
Harmonizing and simplifying the rules on proof of intra-Community transport of goods
Currently, to apply the VAT exemption for intra-Community supplies of goods, the supplier must prove that the goods have actually been transported from one EU Member State to another. The way in which this proof of transport is required to be documented is not harmonized and differs from EU Member State to EU Member State. The lack of harmonization leads to legal uncertainty for businesses active in the international trade of goods.
The fourth item—simplified proof for intra-Community supplies—reflects the EU Council’s introduction of a rebuttable presumption of intra-Community transport in instances when the supplier is in the possession of a minimum number of evidential documents. According to the new rules, it will be presumed that the goods have been transported to another EU Member State when the supplier is in the possession of at least two non-contradictory evidential “A-documents” (such as a signed CMR document, a bill of lading, an invoice for the freight transport, etc.) or one “A-document” together with one “B-document” (such as insurance documents relating to the transport of the goods, a receipt from the warehouse operator, an official document issued by a public body, etc.) as issued by two different parties that are independent of each other (the supplier and the acquirer (buyer)).
If the goods have been transported by the buyer—or by a third party on behalf of the buyer—the supplier also needs to be in the possession of a written declaration from the buyer, stating that the goods have been transported by the buyer, or by a third party on behalf of the buyer, and identifying the EU Member State of destination of the goods.
In situations when the supplier is in the possession of sufficient evidential documents, there is a presumption of intra-Community transport.
Rules in Belgium
Current Belgian practices (concerning a set of coherent documents proving the transport, the destination document, etc.) remain in place and can continue to be applied. It is, however, clear that the Belgian VAT authorities may not require more documents to prove the intra-Community transport than under the VAT quick fix measures.
Read a November 2019 report prepared by the KPMG member firm in Belgium
The KPMG logo and name are trademarks of KPMG International. KPMG International is a Swiss cooperative that serves as a coordinating entity for a network of independent member firms. KPMG International provides no audit or other client services. Such services are provided solely by member firms in their respective geographic areas. KPMG International and its member firms are legally distinct and separate entities. They are not and nothing contained herein shall be construed to place these entities in the relationship of parents, subsidiaries, agents, partners, or joint venturers. No member firm has any authority (actual, apparent, implied or otherwise) to obligate or bind KPMG International or any member firm in any manner whatsoever. The information contained in herein is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavor to provide accurate and timely information, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. No one should act on such information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of the particular situation. For more information, contact KPMG's Federal Tax Legislative and Regulatory Services Group at: + 1 202 533 4366, 1801 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20006.