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Document 62014CJ0550

Title and reference
Judgment of the Court (Second Chamber) of 26 May 2016.
Envirotec Denmark ApS v Skatteministeriet.
Reference for a preliminary ruling — Common system of value added tax — Directive 2006/112/EC — Reverse charge mechanism — Article 198(2) — Gold material or semi-manufactured products — Meaning — Article 199(1)(d) and Annex VI — Used materials, waste and scrap — Ingots resulting from the melting down of various objects and scrap used to enable the extraction of gold and with a purity in gold of 325 thousandths or greater.
Case C-550/14.

Judgment of the Court (Second Chamber) of 26 May 2016.Envirotec Denmark ApS v Skatteministeriet.Reference for a preliminary ruling — Common system of value added tax — Directive 2006/112/EC — Reverse charge mechanism — Article 198(2) — Gold material or semi-manufactured products — Meaning — Article 199(1)(d) and Annex VI — Used materials, waste and scrap — Ingots resulting from the melting down of various objects and scrap used to enable the extraction of gold and with a purity in gold of 325 thousandths or greater.Case C-550/14.

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Case C‑550/14

Envirotec Denmark ApS

v

Skatteministeriet

(Request for a preliminary ruling from the Østre Landsret)

‛Reference for a preliminary ruling — Common system of value added tax — Directive 2006/112/EC — Reverse charge mechanism — Article 198(2) — Gold material or semi-manufactured products — Meaning — Article 199(1)(d) and Annex VI — Used materials, waste and scrap — Ingots resulting from the melting down of various objects and scrap used to enable the extraction of gold and with a purity in gold of 325 thousandths or greater’

Summary — Judgment of the Court (Second Chamber), 26 May 2016

  1. EU law — Interpretation — Methods — Literal, systematic and teleological interpretation — Derogation from a general rule — Restrictive interpretation — Limit — Effectiveness of that derogation

    (Council Directive 2006/112, Arts 193 and 198(2))

  2. EU law — Interpretation — Texts in several languages — Differences between the various language versions — Account to be taken of the overall scheme and purpose of the legislation in question

  3. Harmonisation of fiscal legislation — Common system of value added tax — Persons liable to pay the tax — Reverse charge procedure — Special scheme for investment gold — Supply of gold material or semi-manufactured products of a purity of 325 thousandths or greater — Meaning — Supply of ingots consisting of a random, rough alloy obtained from the fusion of scrap and various metal objects containing gold, and other metals, materials and substances — Gold content of approximately 500 or 600 thousandths — Included

    (Council Directive 2006/112, Arts 198(2) and 199(1)(d))

  1.  See the text of the decision.

    (see paras 27, 33)

  2.  See the text of the decision.

    (see para. 28)

  3.  Article 198(2) of Directive 2006/112 on the common system of value added tax must be interpreted as applying to the supply of ingots consisting of a random, rough alloy obtained from the fusion of scrap and various metal objects containing gold, and other metals, materials and substances, and which, depending on the ingot, have a gold content of approximately 500 or 600 thousandths.

    What increases the risk of tax evasion, and therefore justifies the use of a reverse charge mechanism for the supply of certain goods, including gold, is their high market value in relation to their size, which makes them easily transportable. As regards the trade in gold, and provided that it does not concern a finished product, such as a jewel, it is the gold content of the object concerned which determines its value. Consequently, the risk of tax evasion is all the greater given that the gold content of that object is high.

    It follows therefore that, in the light of the principal objective pursued by the EU legislature, the degree of purity of the gold in the object concerned is crucial for the purposes of determining whether or not a supply of gold material or semi-manufactured products, not being a finished product, falls within the scope of Article 198(2) of Directive 2006/112.

    Furthermore, it must be held that adopting an interpretation of Article 198(2) of that directive, to the effect that that provision, once implemented by a Member State, would, nevertheless, not apply to ingots with a purity in gold of 325 thousandths or greater, could interfere with the full achievement of that objective of countering tax evasion specifically pursued by the EU legislature in view of the particularities of a precious metal such as gold. On the other hand, the foregoing does not prejudge the question whether ingots made up of ‘waste’ or ‘used material’, where they have a purity in gold of less than 325 thousandths, may come under the reverse charge mechanism provided for in Article 199(1)(d) of that directive, as long as that mechanism has been put in place by a Member State.

    In that regard, nothing in Directive 2006/112 indicates that the reverse charge mechanism provided for in Article 199(1)(d) of that directive is necessarily exclusive of the one provided for in Article 198(2), since the latter provision may, in that regard, be conceived as being a lex specialis relating to the specific products covered by its terms.

    (see paras 38, 41-43, 45, operative part)

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