New VAT directive on vouchers

On June 27, 2016 the EU Council adopted a new VAT voucher directive. This directive is aiming for legal certainty for transactions involving vouchers by harmonising national VAT rules within the EU. To avoid the distortion of competition, double or non-taxation and the risk of tax avoidance, there is a need for specific rules applying to the VAT-treatment of vouchers. The vouchers include for instance gift cards and price discounts on (hotel)coupons for the purchase of goods and services.

The lack of common rules forced Member States to come up with own solutions regarding the VAT-treatment of vouchers. The new directive includes provisions to define the various types of vouchers (single-purpose and multi-purpose vouchers) and sets out points to ensure an uniform treatment within the EU. For this, rules are set to determine the taxable value of the transactions and the chargeability of VAT.

The Member States will have until 31 December 2018 to have transposed the directive into national laws and regulations.


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