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It took four years from the first submission, but the Directive on VAT treatment of vouchers was finally adopted last 27 June 2016. The use of vouchers has increased in the last ten years and the ECJ had to decide on several issues regarding the VAT treatment of this instrument. This week the European Union has finally come up with a single set of VAT rules on vouchers.
In the approved Directive, vouchers are defined as a title that gives access to goods or services previously defined (either in the voucher or in the General Terms and Conditions). Discount vouchers, transport documents and equivalent tickets are excluded.
The Directive makes a distinction between vouchers used for a specific purpose and vouchers used for multi-purposes. The transfer of specific purpose vouchers is always taxable unless the supplier is not acting in his own name. Regarding multi-purpose vouchers, however, VAT is only charged when the underlying goods or services are actually supplied.
Finally, it is worth noting that only vouchers issued after 31 December 2018 will be subject to the new rules.