Registration in the VAT Informations Exchange System (VIES)

Until now, the indications provided by Circular AE no. 39/2011 and by Resolution AE n. 42/2012 indicated that if a VAT taxable person was not registered in the VIES system, the tax regime of European transactions must not be applied.

The ruling c21-16 (February 9, 2017) by EU Court overturned what the Italian financial administration affirmed, claiming that the exemption from value added tax can not be denied to an European transaction only because one of the two contractors is not registered in the VAT Information Exchange System.

The Revenue Agency, aligning itself with this ruling and with a consolidated practice, has qualified as a mere formal requirement the registration in the VIES.

In conclusion, the non-taxability of a European transaction can no longer be contested when:

  • it is established that contractors are taxable persons in their respective Member States;
  • the goods have been shipped or transported to the transferee’s member state and it has acquired the power to dispose of the goods, as specified by art. 41 D.L 331/93;
  • the European transactions concerning services comply with the requirements imposed by art. 7-ter of DPR 633/1972.

It is worth mentioning that the Directive 2018/1910/EU, by modifying the VAT Directive (2006/112/EC), with effect from 1 January 2020, establishes that the VIES registration is once again a substantial and no longer formal requirement.