On 15 May 2019, the European Court of Justice issued a ruling in Case C-235/18 Vega International Transport and Logistics - Trading GmbH against Director of the Tax Chamber in Warsaw, indicating that the provision of access to fuel cards constitutes a fin

The ruling was made under facts in which Vega International operated in the field of car transport, providing services through its subsidiaries.


Vega International supplied subsidiaries involved in the provision of transport services with fuel cards issued by various fuel suppliers, with the fact, that the cards were personal fuel cards (issued to drivers).

 

Invoices documenting the purchase of fuel with the use of fuel cards were implemented and administered centrally by Vega International (the company received invoices documenting the purchase of fuel from fuel suppliers). At the end of each month, Vega International re-invoiced to subsidiaries the costs of fuel made available for the purpose of providing the transport service, adding an additional fee of 2%.

 

The tax authorities refused Vega International the right to deduct VAT for the purchase of fuel, arguing that the provision of Vega International is not a supply of fuel, but a financing service for its purchase.

The ECJ decided that by adding an additional fee, Vega International receives remuneration for the service provided, and thus that it provides a financial service (finances the purchase of fuel in advance). According to ETS, Vega International operates in this respect just like a regular financial or credit institution. Consequently, the availability of fuel cards by Vega International is a financial transaction that is similar to the loan granting service and as such is covered by VAT exemption.

 

The Tribunal did not clearly specified the manner of classification for the purposes of VAT of this transaction, pointing to the need to analyze the nature of each transaction with the participation of fuel cards in order to determine whether from the VAT perspective it constitutes a supply of goods or a service.

 

We recommend entities purchasing fuel using fuel cards to consider performing such verification in order to minimize the risk of questioning the right to deduct VAT from purchase invoices. Kancelaria DST Dąbrowski Szewczyk-Tomasiak Kancelaria Radców Prawnych Spółka Partnerska (Solicitor Office Professional Partnership) is ready to assist you in this process.