Deduction of Import VAT: Relevance of Ownership as of Importation?

Some tax administrations and tax courts of EU Member States require that taxable persons claiming import VAT deduction had power of disposal over the goods as of their importation. Based on recent case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union, the authors demonstrate that, contrary to this view, any taxable person presenting customs import documents specifying him as consignee or importer of goods should be entitled to import VAT deduction if he is either the owner of the goods (or obtains the right to dispose of the goods as owner) or, alternatively, can prove that “the cost of the input services is incorporated either in the cost of particular output transactions or in the cost of goods or services supplied by the taxable person as part of his economic activities”.