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Editor in chief: Angelo Scorza
05/08/19 11:29

The European Court of Justice excludes VAT exemption for oil platforms

Studio TCL also analyzes benefits for those who takes part in international fairs in 2019

The EU Court of Justice stepped in with the sentence of June 20, 2019, on the interpretation to be provided to article 148 of the VAT Directive (directive 2006/112 / of November 28, 2006).

In detail, Article 148 deals about VAT exemptions related to international transport and establishes that EU member states shall exempt the following transactions from VAT:


  1.  “the supply of goods for the fuelling and provisioning of vessels used for navigation on the high seas and carrying passengers for reward or used for the purpose of commercial, industrial or fishing activities, or for rescue or assistance at sea, or for inshore fishing, with the exception, in the case of vessels used for inshore fishing, of ships' provisions;”….


  1.  “the supply, modification, repair, maintenance, chartering and hiring of the vessels referred to in point (a), and the supply, hiring, repair and maintenance of equipment, including fishing equipment, incorporated or used therein”



The dispute faced by the Court of Justice concerned the interpretation to be given to the locution of "vessels used for navigation on the high seas" and to the consequent impossibility of qualifying offshore drilling platforms, such as vessels used for navigation on the high seas.

Indeed, this suggest that, for the purposes of VAT exemption, the vessels must be used mainly to move in the maritime space. In fact it is not enough that the vessels, or in this case the platform, is suitable for use on the high seas, but it is necessary that the vessel moves mainly and concretely from a place within the EU to a place outside of it.

It follows that the offshore platforms do not fall within the notion of vessels used for navigation on the high seas, as they are mainly used in an immovable position to exploit oil fields present in the sea, and consequently cannot benefit from the VAT exemption pursuant to article 148.

PKF STUDIO TCL – Genoa - Milan

Stefano Quaglia –

Irene Angeletti –


Finally, a first small aid to the internationalization of companies

The Decree Law 34 of 2009 (“Decreto Crescita”), at Article 49, introduced an incentive measure to participate in international fairs for small and medium enterprises.

In detail, companies that will incur expenses for participation in international fairs during 2019 will be able to benefit from a tax credit equal to 30% of the costs incurred. In the eligible expenses, we have those incurred for the rent and preparation of exhibition spaces, those for promotion and advertising activities, etc.

However, there are three limits to the use of credit:

1) the credit available cannot exceed the maximum limit of 60,000 for each company;

2) there is an allocation of only 5 million euros. It should be noted that the credit will be attributed up to the allocation, it follows that the benefit will be assigned based on the chronological order in which the applications are presented;

3) the limits imposed by EU regulations on “de minimis aid” for enterprises, the agricultural sector, fisheries and aquaculture must be respected.

Finally, the credit must be divided into three annual installments and it may be used only in compensation.

PKF STUDIO TCL – Genoa - Milan

Chiara Vurruso –


TAG : Tax corner