VAT Newsletter October/2013

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The European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) has ruled on the case C-431/12 (Steaua Română)

The dispute in this case refers to the tax authorities’ refusal to accept the claim addressed to them by SC Rafinăria Steaua Română SA („Steaua Română” or „the Company”) to be granted interest following the late payment of the VAT requested for reimbursment.

Specifically, Steaua Română submitted two VAT refund requests which were solved in its favor by the National Agency of Fiscal Administration („the Agency”) as per the tax audit performed in this respect. Based on that respective tax audit, the Agency also issued an assesment decision imposing to the Company additional VAT liabilities and late payment charges, and subsequently it issued offset notices to settle these liabilities against the VAT approved for refund.

Further to the appeals brought by Steaua Română, the assesment decision, respectively the offset notices were annulled by a court ruling, and the Agency was obliged to refund to the Company the VAT amount accepted for reimbursment.

Due to the late payment of the VAT amount, Steaua Română claimed the Agency to pay interest related to this amount, computed from the date of expiry of the 45 days term for solving the VAT refund requests until the date when the money were actually paid.

The Agency considered that no interest is due for the period in which the offset notices were in force.

ECJ concluded that the provisions of the VAT Directive preclude a situation in which a taxable person, which requested the reimbursement of VAT, cannot obtain from the tax authorities of a Member State default interest on a refund performed with delay in respect of a period during which administrative measures precluding the refund, which were subsequently annulled by a court ruling, were in force.

Regulation (EU) No. 952/2013 regarding the Union Customs Code was published in the EU Official Journal L 269

The Regulation enters into force on 30 October 2013, most articles being applicable from that date, while the others apply as of 1 June 2016

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