How are deliveries of goods from or to a logistics platform located in an EU Member State taxed within the EU? What are the VAT rules for the storage of goods? When should you appoint a fiscal representative or tax advisor?

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A summary by the experts

Deliveries of goods to a logistics platform located in an EU Member State are taxed in that Member State, regardless of the origin of the goods (domestic market, other EU Member State or a third country).

If you organise your logistics from a Member State where you are not established, you must be registered for VAT in that Member State to declare operations subject to VAT, but also operations that may be exempt.

Typical transactions

The following devices and operations may be affected by these VAT regulations:

  • logistics platform/storage platform
  • stock transfer/stock consignment/advanced stock/deported stock
  • call-off stock arrangements.

Examples of transactions involving stock and VAT obligations

VAT and storage platform

You are a company established in Spain, and have chosen to manage your transactions, or some of them, from a logistics platform located in the Netherlands. You supply this platform via suppliers in the Netherlands, Italy and the USA, and then ship your products to customers in the Netherlands, Sweden and China.

Domestic purchase (Dutch supplier):

You will be invoiced with Dutch VAT included. This VAT can be deducted from the VAT returns that you should file in the Netherlands.
In order to apply for a VAT refund in the Netherlands, you must be registered for VAT in the Netherlands, except in the following cases:

  • You buy only in the Netherlands, sell only in the Netherlands, and the sale is subject to the reverse charge mechanism.
  • you are not making an Intra-Community acquisition, an Intra-Community delivery, an import or an export.

Intra-Community acquisition (Italian supplier):

You will be liable for VAT on this purchase n the Netherlands. You will need to obtain a VAT number in the Netherlands and communicate your Dutch VAT number to your Italian supplier. If you exceed the Dutch Intrastat threshold, you will also have to file Intrastat declarationswith the Dutch authorities.

Import (US supplier):

VAT is due in the Netherlands and must be paid to Dutch customs. You will need to obtain a VAT numberin the Netherlands and communicate your Dutch VAT number to your customs broker. This VAT can be deducted from your Dutch VAT returns.

Domestic sales (customer based in the Netherlands):

In the case of the Netherlands, you will invoice your customer excluding VAT because the reverse charge mechanism applies in the Netherlands (see below for explanation).

General rule and specific schemes:

There are two scenarios according to the legislation in force in the country where the assembly is carried out:

  • The general rule: you should invoice your customer including VAT (at the VAT rate in force in their country) and file your VAT returns for all operations (purchases and sales) in the same country.
  • The reverse charge mechanism
    Some Member States will apply the reverse charge system to domestic sales in their territory. In this case, it is the purchaser who will be liable for VAT, not the seller. Depending on the country, the purchaser must be registered for VAT and/or established in the country where the sale is made.

Please note: even if the country where you make the sale has opted for the reverse charge system, you will still have to register for VAT for Intra-Community acquisitions and imports (transactions 2 and 3 above).

Intra-Community delivery (customer in Sweden)

If your customer is registered for VAT in Sweden, you are carrying out an Intra-community supply that is exempt from Dutch VAT. For this operation you must be registered for VAT in the Netherlands. You will have to file a Dutch VAT return a Dutch EC Sales list return and a Dutch Intrastat return on dispatch if the Intrastat threshold is exceeded.

In addition, you will have to comply with the Dutch obligations in terms of invoicing and proof of exemption.

Export (customer in China):

To act as en exporter of records from the Netherlands, you will need to register for VAT in the Netherlands and provide your Dutch VAT number to your customs broker.

This transaction will have to be declared on a Dutch VAT return and you will have to comply with Dutch obligations in terms of invoicing and proof of exemption.

These examples are given to clarify VAT mechanisms and explain your obligations. It is worth checking the regulations for your particular transactions in line with the law, doctrine and practices in each of the EU member States. Contact us for more information!

Why use a
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A tax advisor or a fiscal representative can help you understand the local rules clearly, register for VAT on your behalf and manage your obligations in the country where your logistics platform is based.

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European regulatory references

“Where goods dispatched or transported by the supplier, by the customer or by a third person are installed or assembled, with or without a trial run, by or on behalf of the supplier, the place of supply shall be deemed to be the place where the goods are installed or assembled.

Where the installation or assembly is carried out in a Member State other than that of the supplier, the Member State within the territory of which the installation or assembly is carried out shall take the measures necessary to ensure that there is no double taxation in that Member State.”
Source: Article 36 of Directive 2006/112/EC

Member States shall take the measures necessary to ensure that the following persons are identified by means of an individual number:

(a) every taxable person, with the exception of those referred to in Article 9(2), who within their respective territory carries out supplies of goods or services in respect of which VAT is deductible, other than supplies of goods or services in respect of which VAT is payable solely by the customer or the person for whom the goods or services are intended, in accordance with Articles 194 to 197 and Article 199;

(b) every taxable person, or non-taxable legal person, who makes intra-Community acquisitions of goods subject to VAT pursuant to Article 2(1)(b) and every taxable person, or non-taxable legal person, who exercises the option under Article 3(3) of making their intra-Community acquisitions subject to VAT;

(c) any taxable person who, within their respective territories, makes intra-Community acquisitions of goods for the purposes of his transactions which fall within the activities referred to in the second subparagraph of Article 9(1) and which he carries out outside those territories;

(d) every taxable person who receives, within their respective territories, supplies of services for which he is liable to pay VAT pursuant to Article 196;

(e) any taxable person who is established within their respective territories and who, within the territory of another Member State, supplies services for which only the customer is liable to pay VAT pursuant to Article 196.

2. Member States need not identify certain taxable persons who carry out transactions on an occasional basis, as referred to in Article 12.

Source: Article 214 of Directive 2006/112/EC

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