Important ECJ rulings on customs value of defective goods and VAT taxable basis of leasing

Customs value of defective goods (X BV, C-661/15, 12/10/2017)

An importer may adjust the customs value declared upon importation where it is established that, at the time of release into free circulation, there was a manufacture-related risk that the goods might potentially become defective in use, and in view of this, the seller, pursuant to a contractual warranty towards the buyer, grants the latter a price reduction in the form of reimbursement of the costs incurred by the buyer in modifying the goods in order to exclude that risk.

The time limit for the price adjustment is three years. It is not necessary for the importer of record to prove that the goods were actually defective upon importation. Demonstrating the potential risk is sufficient.

VAT taxable basis of leasing (Lombard Ingatlan Lízing, C-404/16, 12/10/2017)

This case covers a financial leasing with definite transfer of ownership where the lessor may no longer claim payment of the leasing instalments because the lessor has terminated the agreement due to breach of contract by the lessee.

The Court states that such a situation is covered by the concepts of ‘cancellation’ and ‘refusal’ [article 90(1) of Directive 2006/112/EC]. As a consequence, the lessor may obtain a reduction of the VAT taxable basis, even if the applicable national law does not allow the taxable amount to be reduced in the case of non-payment [article 90(2) of Directive 2006/112/EC].

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