VAT & Customs

Vouchers – Caution with VAT

The Federal Administrative Court recently ruled on the question of the tax point related to the sale of vouchers. In doing so, it differentiated between so-called value and performance vouchers and determined different taxation dates. If the voucher contains a specific description of the service that is to be received with it (or the service is at least determinable), such as a voucher for an overnight stay in a hotel with breakfast or an entrance to a spa, this is a performance voucher and VAT is due at the time of the sale of the voucher in the sense of an advance payment. However, if this voucher can also be used for another supply or be credited for another service and if this is expressly provided for on the voucher and in the GTCs, it is considered to be a value voucher. Vouchers representing a certain value claim, which can be used for unspecified services, continue to be considered as value vouchers. These are still taxable when the voucher is redeemed.

In addition to the question of when VAT must be paid on a sold voucher, a practical problem also arises: Since VAT is settled at the time of sale in the case of performance vouchers, appropriate records must be available to determine whether the prepaid service was actually rendered. If a performance voucher expires, there is no taxable consideration due to the lack of performance, and the seller can claim a corresponding reduction in consideration and reclaim the VAT initially paid. And in the event of any VAT rate increases, the VAT difference must be accounted for on the performance not yet rendered.

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