Services to Irish-based Companies

Tax Tips February 2020

VAT Exemption on certain medical diagnostic services

In Wolf-Henning Peters (Peters)(C-700/17), the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) concluded that certain medical diagnostic services provided by a doctor to a laboratory could qualify for VAT exemption.

It is generally accepted that most medical services supplied by qualified medical and healthcare professionals are exempt from VAT where they are carried out for the principal purpose of protecting, maintaining and restoring a patient’s health.  Otherwise, it would be subject to VAT.

In the facts of this case, Peters was a doctor established in Germany specialising in clinical chemistry laboratory diagnostics.  Peters provided medical care services to a company that performs laboratory work for independent doctors, rehabilitation clinics, medical services and hospitals.

Peters considered that his services were exempt from VAT and the German tax authorities sought to argue that the VAT exemption does not apply and that these services should be treated as taxable as Peters did not provide his service under a relationship of trust between the doctor and the patient.

In this case, the CJEU ruled that the services provided by Peters could qualify for VAT exemption on the basis that the services were the provision of medical care in the exercise of a medical profession and that it is not a requirement for such a confidential relationship to be in place.

This case is currently very topical given the increase in arrangements where self-employed doctors are providing services via companies.

VAT repayment offset changes with effect from 25th November 2019

With effect from 25th November 2019 VAT registered traders now have an option to automatically offset any VAT repayment claims to another tax head and period on Revenue’s Online Services (ROS).  We understand that a similar offset function for corporation tax will be available in March.

In the ROS offset screen, it is now possible to instruct that the VAT repayment is offset to another and indicate so by ticking the box provided on screen.  It is important to note that if there are outstanding taxes prior to the periods identified in the offset instruction, these periods will be paid by the VAT claim first to ensure that older available debt is satisfied before current or future debt is considered in accordance with the instruction.

The trader will be informed as to how their VAT3 claim was offset, whether that is exactly in accordance with the instructions given or not, through the generation and issue of a Statement of Account outlining to where their VAT3 credit was offset.

The development to automate VAT repayment offsets, where a trader selects and provides a specific offset instruction, should speed up the processing of VAT repayments and is a welcome development.

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