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No reduced VAT rate for online sports platform

A BV gives sportspeople the opportunity to use workout and instruction videos via a so-called virtual sports platform for a fee. The sports platform also offers access to blogs and videos with recipes and tips for a healthy lifestyle. The sports practitioners take out a subscription. A tailor-made sports schedule is drawn up for the subscribers. The subscribers follow the program online and perform the training at home or at another location of their choice. A BV does not have a sports facility that subscribers can use.

The question is whether the reduced VAT rate applies.

The District Court of The Hague does not follow A BV in its assertion that it is not relevant where the sports practice takes place. Although the term “use of sports accommodation” must be interpreted broadly, this does not mean that the reduced VAT rate can also be applied in the situation where no accommodation is made available. The reduced rate of item b.3 of Table I therefore only applies if the entrepreneur actually makes physical accommodation available. It is common ground that this is not the case with online services. The reduced VAT rate therefore does not apply to those services.

Then the approval from the Emergency Measures Corona Crisis Decree with regard to the reduced rate for the alternatively offered online sports services of gyms. Although it is plausible that the activities offered online by the gyms as an alternative will not differ materially from the training courses that A BV offers online as standard, this does not mean that there is a violation of the principle of equality. After all, it follows from the explanation of the Covid regulation that it is solely motivated by practical considerations and only relates to the situation in which the opportunity is normally given to use a sports accommodation and this is temporarily not possible due to government action.


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