KrakVet Marek Batko (Case C-276/18): Against All Odds, VAT Double Taxation Exists in the EU

Article by: Edoardo Traversa, first published on KluwerTaxBlog

International double taxation should be to European VAT harmonization what tropical temperatures should be to the polar regions: a challenge of the natural laws of the universe and, at the same time, a wound inflicted to a fragile ecosystem. And yet, last June, both phenomena were officially recognized by international independent bodies: temperatures of 38 degrees Celsius were registered North of the Artic Pole, while the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) delivered its judgment in KrakVet Marek Batko (Case C-276/18).

Unfortunately, in both cases, no clear solutions in order to put an immediate halt to those phenomena have been devised. Thus, it appears that we will have to cope with the consequences of double taxation in the field of EU VAT in so much as we will have to cope with climate change: being ready for the inevitable, and trying to limit the damage on a case-by-case basis when it occurs, because there is no capacity or willingness to go for comprehensive and anticipative solutions.

But let’s take a step back to KrakVet Marek Batko (Case C-276/18). The case at hand deals with the simultaneous and somehow opposite application of the distance-selling regime for cross-border supplies of goods by different Member States (in this case, Poland and Hungary) in general, and the notion of ‘transported or dispatched by or on behalf of the supplier’ set forth in Article 33 of Council Directive 2006/112/EC (the VAT Directive) in particular.

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