Update on VAT case in EU Court of Justice

I finally have some updates from the case about Bitcoin and VAT that is ongoing in the Court of Justice of the European Union. Here are my previous texts on the subject:

The written arguments were submitted in September and we have now received the other submissions (translated to Swedish which is the case language). Apart from me and Skatteverket (the Swedish Tax Agency, who is the counterparty) all member states as well as the European Commission have the oppurtunity to submit written arguments and/or participate in an oral hearing.

First of all, the bad news. Two member states chose to submit arguments, Germany and Estonia, and both of them disagree with our view. Just like Skatteverket they have the opinion that bitcoin is not VAT exempt, that it does not fall under the exemptions in article 135 in the Council Directive on VAT. Regarding the amount on which VAT should be calculated only Estonia seems to be of the opinion that it should be the full amount, rather than just the commission / service fee.

The good news is that the European Commission shares our view. Included in the submission from the European Commission is also the ”preliminary view” of United Kingdom and they are also in favor of VAT exemption.

The next thing that happens is that I have the possibility to request an oral hearing (but there might be an oral hearing regardless of what I choose to do). I have a couple of weeks to decide. I was lucky enough to be funded by a major industry member for the written submission but if there is an oral hearing I will be in need of additional funding and according to my lawyers an estimate for this is 25 – 30k Euro. I will not do any crowdfunding for this as my previous experience is that it is too hard to get a significant amount that way.

Everyone, please share your opinions and if you have contacts that you think might want to help fund an oral hearing, send me an e-mail at david@bitcoin.se.

  • Jad

    The German government is still of the opinion that the internet is a ”newly discovered county”, so the fact that they don’t get Bitcoin at all is hardly surprising. They made every mistake a government can make regarding online laws and they will keep making them. At the moment they have decided to kill net neutrality with arguments like ”secure and safe connections” for ”self-driving cars”… mP

    Listening to Merkel talk about the internet is as painful for anyone with a hint of knowledge as listening to a hardcore young earth creationist must be for a scientist.

  • Chris BlockZombie

    Can you comment on the relative significance of the good and bad news for the benefit of someone from Australia where we are battling this same issue? How significant is Germany’s and Estonia’s position on this vs EC & UK?

    • D.H.

      Hi Chris! Impossible for me to say I’m afraid. All arguments will be considered by the court of course but I can’t give you any odds. :)

  • Nicolas

    Do you have a link to the European Commission submission ?