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Practical Handbook VAT 2022

A) General concepts

In the field of VAT the terms "import" and "export" are used only in the case of acquisitions or supplies of goods to non-Community countries, i.e. as entries into and exits from the Community, and intra-Community acquisitions and intra-Community supplies of goods in the case of acquisitions and supplies of goods to Community countries, i.e. purchases from and sales to Community member countries.

Scheme for acquisitions and deliveries to third countries and intra-Community countries

Two new taxable events appear here:import, to refer to the entry into Community territory of goods from third countries and intra-Community acquisition as the entry into Spanish VAT territory (from which the Canary Islands, Ceuta and Melilla are excluded) of goods coming from another Member State of the European Union.

Imports and intra-Community acquisitions are taxed differently:While the former must be settled at Customs (without prejudice to the possibility of deferring payment in certain cases), the latter are settled as part of the self-assessment which is periodically submitted for all transactions.

In intra-Community trade there is a different treatment depending on whether the acquisitions are made by private individuals or by entrepreneurs:

  1. Supplies of goods to private individuals are generally taxed in the country of origin, i.e. in the country of the entrepreneur making the supply.

  2. Supplies of goods to entrepreneurs or professionals, who are taxable for VAT, are taxed in the country of destination, i.e. in the country of the acquiring entrepreneur, as an intra-Community acquisition of goods.

On the other hand, the general intra-Community acquisitions scheme does not apply to acquisitions made in a Member State which are taxed under the special scheme for second-hand goods, works of art, antiques and collectors' items.This is because the operation of this special regime requires taxation to be localised in the source State.

In order for imports and intra-Community acquisitions to be subject to the tax, the following requirements must be met:

  1. The transaction must be configured as an intra-Community acquisition or import.

  2. It must be carried out in the territory where Spanish VAT applies.

  3. The transaction must not fall within the cases of non-taxation provided for in the Law.

  4. The transaction must not be included among the exemptions provided for in the Law.