Horse Export Jumped Through the Virgin Islands to the US: No Zero VAT Rate

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BV X was engaged in the showjumping business and in 2012 sold a horse for 700,000 euros to B Corporation, a company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, which sold it to C. Corporation, incorporated in the United States (USA). The horse was then moved to Zone C which was relocated in the United States. BV X did not charge VAT on the sale, but did mention “VAT remittance” on the invoice. In its value-added tax return, it demanded 0% for export. After conducting the due diligence, the inspector charged an additional estimate of €133,000 (19% of €700,000). BV X appealed, claiming that the sale of the horse by B to C could not be levied against it because it supplied the horse directly to C in the United States and that the export was made on its behalf. Thus, its delivery was associated with the export of the horse, so that the zero rate was applicable according to BV X. The District Court of Zeeland-West-Brabant did not agree with BV X. According to the court, it was not possible to determine the expiration date of BV X to act on the basis of the documents . The court did indeed find it remarkable that, according to the statement of BV X, there was no written sale agreement, but no documents were presented showing what the agreements were (besides the amount of the sale) through which BV X entered into the further process (as the inspection showed). So BV X did not make it plausible that the horse had been exported as part of its delivery. The court then dismissed BV X’s alternative claim that the extradition had taken place in Belgium rather than the Netherlands. Since BV X did not make sense that its delivery was in relation to the export of the horse, its argument that the delivery took place in Belgium because the transfer to Schiphol had begun there could not work either. However, the court declared that BV X’s appeal was well founded because BV X could not recover VAT from B, so that the unpaid VAT was included in the business figure indicated. Therefore, the additional contributions had to be reduced to (19/119 x 700,000 euros =) 111,764 euros.

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