VATupdate

ECJ will rule on unjust enrichment and millions of VAT

The Supreme Administrative Court referred a question for a preliminary ruling to the CJEU aimed at determining whether, in Polish regulatory conditions, it is possible to refuse VAT refund with reference to the so-called unjust enrichment. Let us recall that some taxpayers selling to consumers – realized it using an inflated VAT rate (e.g. for security reasons, when the rate preference was not obvious). After obtaining confirmation that they were entitled to apply the reduced VAT rate, they decided to apply for a refund of the historically overpaid tax.

In some cases, the tax authorities refused to reimburse – arguing that such a reimbursement would lead to unjust enrichment of the entrepreneur, considering that VAT was an economic burden on the consumer. 

The concept of the so-called “Unjust enrichment” (as grounds for refusing VAT refunds) may raise justified doubts, for example:

  • there are no clear regulations justifying the application of this concept in practice,
  • economic burden for the consumer – it is not obvious. There are cases in which the entrepreneur applies a higher VAT rate at the expense of his lower margin (e.g. to maintain a competitive position on the market),
  • entrepreneurs bear all the risks related to VAT (for example – they cannot apply for a subsidy to the price from the consumer in the event of incorrect application of a too low VAT rate).

Source Centrumklasyfikacji.pl

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