The VAT Conundrum of Fuel Cards: Thoughts on the ECJ Judgment in Vega International

The ECJ’s judgment in VegaInternational has created a wave of controversy amongst VAT practitioners. The ECJ concluded that when a parent company provides fuel cards to its subsidiaries, enabling those subsidiaries to refuel the vehicles they transport at petrol stations, the parent company is not, for VAT purposes, the recipient of the fuel deliveries made by the service stations, nor is that company delivering fuel to its subsidiaries. On the contrary, the parent company is, for VAT purposes, providing services to the subsidiaries comparable to the granting of credit, which is exempt from VAT. In this article, the authors’ objective is to extrapolate the conclusions of this decision to other cases and explain how the usage of fuel cards operates in the market.