Refusing the VAT refund of a taxable person not established in the European Union because of incorrect VAT identification number

21 February 2019


The Court of Justice of the European Union’s judgment delivered in case C-562/17 on 14 February 2019 is worth to be briefly referred to also with regard to BREXIT. Further to the judgment the provisions of the Council Directive 86/560/EEC for taxable persons not established in the territory of a Member State [correctly: of the European Union], must be interpreted as not precluding a Member State from imposing a time limit on the possibility of rectifying incorrect invoices, for example by the rectification of the VAT identification number originally shown on the invoice, for the purposes of the exercise of the right to a VAT refund, provided that the principles of equivalence and effectiveness are respected.

In accordance with the Court’s well established case law the possibility to exercise the right to a refund of excess VAT without any right would be contrary to the principle of legal certainty. The principle of legal certainty requires that reasonable time limits are compatible with the EU law. Therefore, if it can be stated that such time limits are not by their nature liable to make it virtually impossible or excessively difficult to exercise the rights conferred by EU law, provided that the principle of equivalence is respected, the rejection of the right to VAT refund is not contrary to the EU law.


dr. Szilvia Sári |