Due to a change in the Austrian VAT Code the following two requirements must be additionally met in order to apply the zero VAT rate to intra-Community supplies of goods as of January 1, 2020:
- The recipient of the goods (customer) must notify the supplier about his valid VAT identification number issued by a tax office in another EU Member State.
- The supplier of the goods has to file a correct EC Sales List for the period concerned in due time.
Consequences for the supplier
If one of the above requirements is not met, the zero VAT rate cannot be applied to the intra-Community supply of good. In fact, the supplier has to consider the intra-Community supply of good as a taxable supply in the monthly/quarterly VAT return (unless any other exemption is applicable) and pay over the VAT to the tax authorities. The invoice to the recipient must be issued with (Austrian) VAT.
However, please note that the Austrian tax authorities allow a correction of the invoice in case the foreign VAT identification number of the recipient is not provided at the time of the supply, but the recipient communicates his VAT identification number to the supplier subsequently. However, the recipient must prove that he was a taxable person at the time of the intra-Community supply of goods and received the goods as such and that there are no indications for possible tax fraud or tax abuse.
If the supplier fails to file a correct and complete EC Sales List the intra-Community supply of goods will be considered as taxable supply as well. Please note that the EC Sales List has to be filed by the end of the calendar month following the calendar month/quarter concerned and therefore does not correspond with the filing deadline of the monthly/quarterly VAT return.
Intra-Community supply of good is effected on 14.02.2020. Reporting period of the VAT return corresponds with the calendar month. The supply has to be reported in the EC Sales List for February 2020, which has to be filed (electronically) with the tax office by 31.03.2020 at the latest. The monthly VAT return for February 2020 has to be filed (electronically) by 15.04.2020 only.
Exceptionally, the VAT exemption for the intra-Community supply of good remains applicable if the supplier is able to justify his failure (i.e. not filing an EC Sales List, incompletness or incorrectness of the EC Sales List) in a „satisfying and proper manner“ towards the tax authorities and files an accordingly amended EC Sales List subsequently. However, it can be assumed that the tax authorities will handle this possibility rather restrictively.
Consequences for the recipient
Please consider that in case the recipient fails to notify the supplier about his foreign VAT identification number, the intra-Community supply of goods will not only qualify as a taxable supply, but the recipient will also not be entitled to recover input VAT according to the view of the Austrian tax authorities. If no amendment of the invoice is possible and is actually not carried out (please see in point 1), the VAT thus remains a cost factor.
What is to be done now?
With regard to the VAT exemption of intra-Community supplies of goods, the supplier has to ensure that he is aware of the valid foreign VAT identification number of his customer and that he meets the deadline for the filing of the correct EC Sales List.
The foreign VAT identification number can be verified via FinanzOnline, the online portal of the Austrian tax authorities. In case of any questions in this regard, please feel free to contact us.
Moreover, we are happy to assist you with the preparation and filing of the correct EC Sales List. Considering the filing deadline of the EC Sales List by the end of the month, we kindly ask you to provide us with the respective documents and information (correct and completed) in future by the 20th of the month in which the EC Sales List has to be filed at the latest. In case the EC Sales List has to be filed in December, please provide us with the data by December 15 at the latest.
Should you have any further questions in this regard, we are pleased to assist you.