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Practical points 2019 - VAT and duties

Guidance from ICAEW's Tax Faculty for practitioners on the latest developments in practice, policy and legislation related to UK VAT and custom duties. These brief practical points are published each month in the faculty's magazine TAXline.

France only allows a reduced rate for photos where they demonstrate a creative intention, perhaps in the way they are composed or framed, how they are lit or exposed, or what lens is used. The reduced rate is therefore denied to businesses specialising in wedding photos and portraits, as these are perceived simply to be fixing an event on film. Such mementos, for the French Tax Authorities, are not the work of an artist. In Regards Photographiques (Case C-145/18), the CJEU has ruled that this is not the correct approach. The Principal VAT Directive limits the reduced rate for photos based on objective criteria (eg, only a limited number of prints are allowed and must be signed by the photographer). Even if France was allowed to rule that wedding photos were not works of art, it would have to do so using less vague and subjective criteria. It cannot be left to French VAT inspectors to determine what is art.

From the weekly Business Tax Briefing published by Deloitte