THE NETHERLANDS: Legislative proposal to make hobby horses subject to the 19% VAT rate

Under the EC Sixth VAT Directive the delivery of living animals may be subject to the lower VAT rate (in the case of the Netherlands 6%) under the condition that the animals are meant for the production of food or are destined for agricultural use.

Under the Netherlands VAT legislation a lower VAT rate is due on trade in regarding cows, sheep, goats, pigs and horses. Regarding these animals the lower VAT rate is applicable no matter what the destiny of the traded animals is. The European Commission has indicated to the Netherlands Government that this deviation needs to be rectified. This rectification was included in the 2007 Tax Bill. Mainly due to the lobbying of the Netherlands horse riding sector this element was taken out of that Bill, and included in a separate Bill.

The interested parties have indicated to the Government that in several other Member States also a lower VAT rate is – also in deviation from the EC Sixth Directive – applicable to living animals (Ireland, France and Luxembourg). According to the Netherlands Ministr of Finance the situation in other Member States concern transitional measures. According to the jurisprudence of the ECJ, the Netherlands cannot defend its own deviation on the basis of that situation in other Member States.

According to the Proposal all living stock will become subject to the 19% VAT rate. The Bill now needs to be adopted by Parliament; the entry into force of the measure will be the first day of the quarter following the date of publication of the Act in the Official Gazette.