The Dutch bill for the VAT treatment of vouchers was published on July 7, 2017. The new legislation is important for every retailer with promotional or loyalty programs and will take effect on January 1, 2019. It may impact your Dutch and EU-wide business and we would therefore like to keep you up-to-date with the changes.

Summary

  • The Dutch bill follows the EU Voucher Directive, which is designed to harmonize the VAT treatment of vouchers within the EU. To date, there has been no specific legislation for the VAT treatment of vouchers, either in the Netherlands or within the EU.

  • The bill introduces a new legal framework. The VAT treatment of vouchers in the Netherlands and the EU may consequently change. New concepts will be introduced, such as voucher, single-purpose voucher (VAT treatment is settled at the time of issue) and multi-purpose voucher (VAT treatment is not yet settled at the time of issue). In addition, new taxable facts and assessment standards are introduced, in particular for the dissemination of vouchers through distributors. It is conceivable that vouchers that are currently not subject to VAT (because they are regarded locally as multi-purpose vouchers) will be subject to VAT under the new legislation (due to their qualification as single-purpose vouchers) and vice versa. It is also possible that the obligation to pay VAT on the value of the voucher will shift from the issuer of the voucher to the distributor, or that VAT will be levied in multiple links. Moreover, the current VAT exemption for securities that currently applies to certain vouchers will (for the most part) be canceled. This implies a right to recover input VAT.

  • The Dutch bill does not materially differ from the EU Voucher Directive but, like the latter, raises many questions for us. Some definitions are unclear and not explicitly explained, such as ‘monetary value’ as new basis of assessment. Furthermore, certain categories of vouchers, such as discount vouchers, tickets for cinemas and museums and transport tickets, are excluded from the legislation. A number of specific Dutch regulations and policy statements, such as the stamp scheme, the gift card policy statement and the telephone card policy statement, will also be amended as a consequence of the bill. The precise interpretation and consequences of this are not yet clear.

Next steps

We recommend that you assess the effect of the bill on your business and determine the possible risks and opportunities. Agreements on commission and margins may have to be revised when vouchers are traded via multiple links. Meijburg & Co would be pleased to assist you with the necessary analysis or the design/redesign of your voucher-related processes. For more information about the changes and the possibilities, please get in touch with the individuals listed here or your regular VAT contact at Meijburg & Co.

Click here to download the memorandum in pdf format