On 28 October 2021, the Council of Ministers approved the Legislative Decree (which is awaiting publication in the Official Gazette) transposing, at national level, the package of tax measures already introduced by the European legislator – known as the “Quick Fixes” – concerning the harmonisation and simplification of VAT rules in transactions carried out between Member States.
The Legislative Decree has been approved almost two years after the expected date (transposition had to take place by 1 January 2020), and converts into law Directive 2018/1910/EU, introduced by the European Commission to improve the coordination of the regulations applied by the various Member States in intra-Community transactions, as well as to prepare the basis for a new VAT regime applicable in Europe (probably from 1 July 2022).
It is worth remembering, in fact, that with the above-mentioned Directive, the first part of a wide-ranging reform of VAT on intra-Community trade has come into force, which may have a concrete impact from a fiscal and management point of view on the business of Italian and foreign operators. In particular, this first reform concerned four fundamental issues, a summary of which is provided below.
Call-off stock regime
The reform has simplified and standardised at EU level the tax treatment of these contracts, which are particularly interesting for companies because they allow to defer taxation from the time the goods are sent to the time they are picked up by the customer.
Among the requirements introduced, in addition to the notification of the beginning of the transport of the goods, it has to be underlined the one related to the absence of a permanent establishment in the territory of the State to which the goods are transferred and the expiry of the favourable regime within 12 months following the transport, after which the transaction must be considered completed.
Moreover, the proper keeping of a register for all operators is provided for, which will be accompanied by the need to implement a stock management system that can monitor in a timely manner the timing of loading/unloading of goods.
Relevance of VIES and INTRASTAT forms in intra-Community transactions
With the reform of the Quick Fixes, the customer’s qualification as a taxable person and his VIES identification number has become one of the fundamental requirements to carry out an intra-community transaction according to the non-taxable regime provided by DL 331/1993.
In addition to the possession of the VIES identification number, which must be communicated in advance by the commission agent to the supplier, there is also the requirement of the correct sending of the data through the recapitulative statements of intra-Community supplies (the so-called Intra models).
Proof of intra-Community supplies
New rules are laid down with regard to the supporting documentation for intra-Community transactions, which are enriched with new elements in the absence of which the transaction can be qualified as internal, and therefore subject to VAT. In particular, in the case of transport carried out by the supplier, at least two of the following elements of proof are required
- transport document/CMR signed by the supplier, the transferee and the carrier;
- bill of lading;
- invoice of air carriage;
- invoice issued by the freight forwarder;
or, one of the above and one of the following:
- insurance policy relating to the shipment or transport of the goods;
- bank documents proving payment for the carriage;
- official documents issued by a public authority confirming the arrival of the goods in the Member State of destination;
- receipt issued by a warehouse keeper in the Member State of destination.
In the case of transport by or on behalf of the transferee, the same elements apply as above, plus the CMR or declaration signed by the transferee confirming the transport and receipt of the goods, which must be received by the 10th day of the month following the supply.
The reform on chain transactions has become necessary in order to provide certainty and uniformity at European level regarding the treatment of transactions in which the transport is organised by the intermediary operator or the promoter. These transactions are characterised by the fact that they consist of more than one supply, and therefore involve several parties, but only one intra-Community transport of goods.
The novelty introduced concerns the provision regarding the non-taxable VAT treatment, which can only be reserved for the supply involving the transfer of the goods to the other State. For the purposes of attributing the transport to only one of the supplies in the chain, it is therefore necessary to carry out an assessment of all the circumstances and characteristics of the transactions carried out, in order to determine which of them is capable of meeting all the conditions of an intra-EU supply.
In conclusion, although the new rules described above are already known, and moreover already applied by the operators, with this Legislative Decree Italy has completed a regulatory process of fundamental importance for the harmonisation on the continent of the VAT treatment of intra-Community transactions. We therefore await the second part of the reform, to be implemented by 1 July 2022.