On 11/04/2019, the ECJ ruled on VAT reference C-691/17*.

The Court stated that the principles of fiscal neutrality and effectiveness must be interpreted as not precluding a practice of the tax authority whereby, in the absence of any suspicion of tax evasion, that authority refuses an undertaking the right to deduct the value added tax which that undertaking, as the recipient of services, unduly paid to the supplier of those services on the basis of an invoice drawn up by that supplier in accordance with the rules on the ordinary VAT regime, whereas the relevant transaction fell under the reverse charge mechanism, and where the tax authority did not,

–        examine, prior to refusing the right to deduct, whether the issuer of that incorrect invoice could reimburse the recipient of the invoice the amount of VAT unduly paid and could correct that invoice under a self-correction procedure, in accordance with the applicable national rules, in order to recover the tax which it unduly paid to the Treasury, or

–        itself decide to reimburse the recipient of that invoice the tax which the recipient unduly paid to the issuer of the invoice and that the latter, subsequently, unduly paid to the Treasury.

Those principles require, however, in the situation where the reimbursement by the supplier of services to the recipient of those services of the VAT unduly invoiced would be impossible or excessively difficult, in particular in the case of the insolvency of the supplier, that the recipient of the services must be able to address its application for reimbursement to the tax authorities directly.

*All ECJ rulings should be read in the concrete context.