Council Directive (EU) 2016/1065, as regards the treatment of vouchers for VAT


On July 1st, 2016 was published in the Official Journal of the European Union the Council Directive 2016/1065 amending the VAT Directive 2016/112/EC with regard to the treatment, for the purposes of VAT, applicable to the supply of vouchers.

This Directive introduces, on the one hand, a definition of voucher and the types thereof in order to be distinguished from a mean of payment (shall not be understood as voucher an instrument which give the holder the right to obtain a discount when purchasing goods or services) and on the other hand, the VAT treatment applicable to these instruments in each case.

In accordance with this regulation, article 30 bis of the VAT Directive establishes the definition of voucher as an instrument that is accepted as consideration of an underlying supply of goods or services when, either the goods and services or the supplier thereof, are already identified in that instrument or in the supporting documentation, together with the conditions of use of this instrument. In this sense, for the purposes of VAT treatment, it is necessary to distinguish the single-purpose voucher from the multi-purpose voucher.

Thus, the single-purpose voucher is the one that, at the time of supply, it is know the place where the goods will be delivered or will be provided the service, as well as the accrued VAT quota corresponding to these goods or services, while the multi-purpose voucher will be any other cases (could be deemed as the one which does not establish a place designated for delivery of the goods or services).

According to these definitions, article 30 ter of the VAT Directive establishes the treatment to be followed in the supply of vouchers, in such a way that a supply in its own name of a single-purpose voucher leads to the supply of the underlying goods or service and, therefore, the actual supply of goods or services carried out by the supplier in exchange of the voucher should not be treated as an independent transaction, i.e. with the supply of the voucher takes place the supply of the goods or service, becoming the VAT due at this time. In addition, the regulation distinguishes between a supply of voucher in its own name from a supply on behalf and in the name of another taxable person, in which case the transfer on behalf of another taxable person shall mean that the supply of the goods or service is done by the other taxable person on whose behalf is acted.

In the event that the actual provider of the goods or services is not the same person supplying the voucher on its own name, the supplier is providing the goods or services to the taxable person issuing the voucher, which means that there is a taxable supply between the supplier and the issuer of the voucher and a second taxable supply between the voucher issuer and the acquirer thereof.

On the other hand, in the case of the multi-purpose voucher, there is an effective taxable supply with the actual delivery of goods or services by the supplier in return for the voucher, while the previous transfers of the multi-purpose voucher will not be subject to VAT. However, should be taken into account those cases in which the multi-purpose voucher is provided by a taxable person other than the effective supplier, since shall be considered the potential existence of a provision of services, for VAT purposes, in connection with the promotion or distribution.

Finally, with respect to the taxable base for supplies of multi-purpose voucher, this will be formed by the consideration paid for the voucher or, in the absence of information, the monetary value indicated on the voucher or in the supporting documentation, less the VAT quota corresponding to the goods delivered or services rendered.

These rules shall apply to vouchers issued from December 31st, 2018.

Attached is a copy of the Council Directive 2016/1065.

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Directive VAT 2016_1065 vouchers

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