Volume 27 (2018) / Issue 4
Over the last years, the VAT exemption applicable to transactions concerning payments and transfers has been subject to a strict interpretation by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). What constitutes these transactions has been narrowed down by the CJEU to the function of ‘having the effect of transferring funds and entail changes in the legal and financial character’. This has reduced the opportunity for intermediaries in the supply chain to benefit from the exemption. On 21 March 2018, the Advocate General (AG) handed down his Opinion in DPAS Limited (DPAS) (Case C-5/17), whose conclusions appear to potentially narrow down even further any scope for exemption as regards transactions concerning payments or transfers. According to the AG, the exemption should not apply to a provider that ‘only’ instructs banks to transfer sums of money insofar as it constitutes a ‘mere physical, technical or administrative service’ that is not covered by the exemption. In this article, the author analyses the AG Opinion and provides some alternate views in light of previous case law.
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