Poland: General ruling, proper classification of transactions using fuel cards for VAT purposes

Poland: Transactions using fuel cards for VAT purposes

The Ministry of Finance issued a general ruling (PT9.8101.3.2020 (15 February 2021)) regarding the proper classification of transactions using fuel cards for value added tax (VAT) purposes.

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The ruling reflects the reasoning behind a judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in the case Vega International Car Transport and Logistic (C-235/18) relating to classification of transactions that use fuel cards.

Summary

The ruling pertains to a type of transaction involving three parties:

  • The supplier
  • The intermediary operator
  • The recipient

The intermediary operator makes available (but is not the issuer of) a fuel card to the recipient (a lessee or a subsidiary). The recipient uses the fuel card to purchase specific goods from the supplier running a gas station. At issue is whether the sale of goods takes place between the supplier and the intermediary operator and then the recipient, or is the sale between the supplier and the recipient (when the intermediary operator acts only as a service provider in relation to the recipient).

According to the ruling, in order to classify a transaction conducted by the intermediary operator as a supply of goods or provision of services, it is necessary to determine to which entity the supplier has actually transferred the right to dispose of the goods as owner. The fact of transferring the right to dispose of the goods as owner by the supplier directly to the recipient must be ascertained only if the following conditions are met:

  • The goods are purchased by the recipient (the fuel card holder) directly from the suppliers.
  • The recipient, at their sole discretion, decides on the method of purchase of goods (the place of purchase), the amount and quality of goods purchased, as well as the moment of purchase and the way the goods will be further used.
  • The costs of the purchase of goods are wholly borne by the recipient (excluding the intermediary operator).
  • The role of the intermediary operator is limited to making the financial instrument enabling the purchase of goods available to the recipient.
  • The ruling concludes only if these conditions are all satisfied can it be concluded that the activity of the intermediary operator, limited to making the fuel cards available to the recipient, is to be classified as provision of services to the fuel card recipient.

KPMG observation

The Ministry of Finance further announced that due to the revocation of Article 7(8) of the Polish VAT law (effective 1 January 2021), individual rulings no longer protect taxpayers who received these rulings. This means that taxpayers to whom rulings were issued under Article 7(8) of the VAT law may still be covered by their protective power—but only in relation to settlement periods before 1 January 2021.

Read a February 2021 report [PDF 232 KB] prepared by the KPMG member firm in Poland

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