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The European Court of Justice recently gave a ruling that will make the VIES requirements more flexible, not being registered in the database still allows businesses to acces an intra-Community supply with be zero rated VAT.
In case Euro Tyre Bv (C-21/16), a Polish customer provided a VAT number that was valid in Poland and up to date in Poland but was not registered in the VIES database. The ECJ took a position allowing the intra-Community supply to be zero rated even if a VIES number is nto provided by the customer where there are no evidence of fraud or VAT avoidance and where all other formalities have been met.
The two main conditions for an intra-Community supply to be zero rated are i) goods being shipped from one EU country to another EU country and the ii) customer providing a valid VAT number. The interpretation of these conditions has been subject to frequent reviews of the European Court of Justice, the last taking a position in favour of the taxpayer.