Recovery of input VAT incurred on costs relating to the sale of shares

On 14 March 2003, the Dutch Supreme Court ruled that expenses incurred by a company with respect to the sale of a subsidiary must be considered as "general costs" and VAT relating to those expenses is deductible under the pro rata applicable to that company in the year in which it sold its shares. However, this decision is restricted to companies that were previously directly involved in the management of their subsidiaries by rendering taxed services to them. In those circumstances, according to the Supreme Court, the sale of shares of the subsidiary must not be treated as an exempt supply. The authors explain the relationship between this judgment and settled case law of the European Court of Justice, in particular, the ECJ judgment in BLP.