VAT and excise duty exemption for defence efforts

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advies EESC: VAT and excise duty exemption for defence efforts

Key points:

The EESC:

  • recognises the Commission's aim of ensuring equal treatment, for VAT purposes, for armed forces of Member States working together within an EU framework and NATO armed forces employed in the EU, which already benefit from VAT exemption;
  • understands that the two conditions for the exemption set out in the Commission proposal are that armed forces are deployed outside their own Member State, on the one hand, and that they are involved in a European common defence effort, on the other hand;
  • accepts that there are some areas not covered by the new exemption. These areas concern, in particular, security purposes, humanitarian rescue tasks and cases in which the solidarity clause is evoked. As a consequence the overall VAT exemptions are limited to "military operations", applying a narrow interpretation of such a concept;
  • suggests that different national tax authorities should have one system under which the new exemptions are implemented;
  • recommends that the Commission, through its VAT Control Group, set up a dedicated system where the VAT-exempted invoices issued by suppliers to armed forces will need to be inserted in order to benefit from the exemption set out in the Commission proposal.