The ECJ has issued a preliminary ruling in Case No. C-249/22, providing clarification on Austrian VAT rules concerning broadcasting program fees. The case involved a taxpayer who sought a reimbursement of VAT paid on a program fee charged by the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF). She argued that the imposition of VAT on this fee violated EU Directive 2006/112/EC on the common system of VAT. Despite her unsuccessful administrative and court appeals in Austria, the Austrian Supreme Administrative Court sought the ECJ’s preliminary ruling.
The ECJ ruled that EU law, when read in conjunction with an Accession Act pertaining to Austria, does not prevent Austria from imposing VAT on public broadcasting activities financed by mandatory statutory fees paid by individuals with broadcast receivers in buildings within the broadcasting area of a relevant public broadcasting entity. This is the case irrespective of whether these public broadcasting activities are considered a “supply of services for consideration” under Article 2(1)(c) of the directive.