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Sweden: VAT treatment of courses and seminars (CJEU)

Sweden: VAT treatment of courses and seminars (CJEU)

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued a judgment in a case concerning the place of supply of courses and seminars for value added tax (VAT) purposes. The CJEU concluded that the place of supply is the location where the event, course or seminar actually takes place.

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The case is: Srf konsulterna AB (C-647/17, 13 March 2019). Read text of the CJEU judgment

Summary

Courses were organized by a company that is wholly owned by a professional association for accounting, management, and salary consultants. The courses on accounting and management were provided in the form of seminars for the members of the association and also provided to third parties. The training courses were given at a conference center and lasted 30 hours, spread over five days. Most of the courses were provided in Sweden, but some had taken place in other EU Member States, in which case the trainers of that association travelled to those EU Member States. The courses were only provided to taxable persons whose business was established or who had a fixed establishment in Sweden.

At issue was whether the courses and seminars were taxable at the location where they were held or at the location where the recipient was established. 

The CJEU concluded that the courses and seminars would be regarded as “services in respect of admission to events;” that the place of supply is the place where the event, course, or seminar actually takes place; and that the supplier must charge local VAT to the participants.

KPMG observation

In practice, short-term training services are often treated as general business-to-business services, and the VAT is “reverse charged” to the recipient. With the judgment of the CJEU, providers of such services may want to analyze whether such treatment is still correct. The determination of the place of supply is typically fact-specific. 

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