Markus Deutsch - Aktuelles

2013-09-13

The European Commission brought a series of infringement proceedings against eight Member
States for failure to comply with their Obligations under the directive on the common system of
value added tax.
 
The actions relate to the special scheme for travel agents Czech Republic,
Finland, France, Greece, Italy, Poland and Portugal.
 
The Commission considers that the special scheme for travel agents is applicable only to sales of
travel services to travellers. It complains that the Member States concerned authorised the
application of that scheme to sales of travel services to any type of customer. In its judgments
of today, the Court acknowledges that there are particularly significant differences
between the language versions of the directive, some using the term ‘traveller’ and/or the
term ‘customer’, at times varying the use of those terms from one provision to another.
The Court points out that where there are discrepancies between the various languag
e versions of an EU Instrument, the provision at issue must be interpreted by reference to the general scheme
and purpose of the rules of which it forms part. In that regard, the Court considers that an approach
consisting in applying the special scheme to any type of customer is the best way of achieving the
aims of the scheme. It enables travel agents to benefit from simplified rules regardless of the type
of customer to whom they provide their services, while encouraging a fair distribution of receipts
between the Member States. Furthermore, the Court has already interpreted the word ‘traveller’ by
giving it a meaning wider than that of final consumer
.
Therefore, since it considers that the provisions of the special scheme are not
Limited to sales of travel services to travellers, the Court dismisses in their entirety the
Commission’s Actions against Poland, Italy, the Czech Republic, Greece, France, Finland and Portugal.
 
(Court of Justice of the European Union; Press Release no. 120/13)

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