Circular 2: VAT on international transport services (C-288/16)

In terms of VAT in international transport, there could be a presumption of VAT taxability of the transport returned to the “customer”, who could have the possibility of certifying that he possesses the requisites for the purposes of applying the non-taxability. In this hypothesis, the right to deduct should be ensured, in the event that during the checks it is believed that the subject could have met the requirements to request the application of the non-taxability regime.

The Assonime circular analyzes the cases of interposition in a transport contract and highlights that if in a mandate without representation the principal has the subjective requisite, i.e. he is an exporter/importer, the service rendered to the shipper must have the same treatment envisaged for the service rendered by the shipper to the sender. Therefore it is not subject to VAT.

Assonime points out that the national law is not entirely aligned with case C-288/16, which held that the non-taxability of transport is limited only to those returned to the
‘sender’ or “recipient” of the transport, without referring to the notion of exporter/importer. According to Assonime, the greater extent of the subjective requirement envisaged
internally could derive from the need not to disregard the non-taxability regime in cases in which, although there is a person who intervenes between the transport company
and the exporter/ importer, the service rendered in any case has a “transparent” character such as to refer the carrier’s performance to the latter subjects



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