Special scheme for travel agents

Special scheme for travel agents

ECJ Cases C-193/11, Commission v. Poland, C-236/11, Commission v. Italy, C-269/11, Commission v. Czech Republic, C-293/11, Commission v. Greece, C-296/11, Commission v. France, C-309/11, Commission v. Finland, C-450/11, Commission v. Portugal

On 26 September 2013, the European Court of Justice made its judgement in cases C-193/11, Commission v. Poland, C-236/11, Commission v. Italy, C-269/11, Commission v. Czech Republic, C-293/11, Commission v. Greece, C-296/11, Commission v. France, C-309/11, Commission v. Finland, C-450/11, Commission v. Portugal, concerning the special scheme for travel agents. It had to be determined whether these EU Member States had transposed articles 306-310 of the VAT Directive correctly in allowing travel agencies to apply the special scheme to transactions regardless of whether the “customer” is actually the “traveller” or not.

The Court ruled that although there are differences between the language versions of the VAT Directive, the conditions of articles 306-310 must be interpreted on the basis of the customer approach (i.e. the sale of travel to all types of customer, in contrast to the traveller only approach, i.e. that the special scheme for travel agents only applies for the sale of travel to travellers). By allowing travel agencies to apply the special scheme for travel agents in cases where travel services are sold to persons other than travellers, the EU Member States named have not infringed the VAT Directive.