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The current European VAT legislation encompassing insurance and financial services, including intermediation thereof, dates back to the adoption of the Sixth VAT Directive in 1977. The definitions do not, however, encompass the current complexity of insurance and financial transactions.
This has resulted in considerable confusion for fiscal authorities and for businesses when deciding upon the application of the VAT exemption. As the correct VAT treatment has a significant economic impact on businesses, a great number of cases have been referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union.
This is also the reason why the European Commission presented its proposal for the future treatment of insurance and financial services, including intermediation thereof, in November 2007. The political process has not yet been finalised and if the Commission’s proposal is agreed upon, the question of understanding the definitions still exists.
This book deals with the exemption for intermediation of insurance and financial services within European VAT. This implies analysing the methods of interpretation applied by the Court of Justice of the European Union when interpreting the provisions regarding insurance and financial services.
Furthermore, the current definitions for intermediation of insurance and financial services as provided for in the VAT Directive are analysed and conclusions are made in order to define a single concept of intermediation. These analyses are followed by various practical scenarios from case law of the Member States concerning intermediation of insurance and financial services.
Finally, comments based on the analyses carried out are given on the European Commission’s proposal for amending the VAT Directive and the accompanying Regulation regarding intermediation of insurance and financial services.