VAT-saving solutions and abuse of law

From the European Court of Justice's judgment in Halifax, it appears that, for the application of the VAT Directive, not only the wording, but also the purposes of its provisions must be taken into account and that, under certain conditions, transactions may not have the anticipated results because the tax authorities have categorized them as constituting abuse of law. In this article, the author discusses the circumstances under which various categories of VAT-saving solutions may or may not constitute an abusive practice, including Halifax, nature or qualification of transactions (purchase or rental, building land versus bare land, secondment of staff versus rendering of services, insurance services versus repair contracts), lack of harmonization (incorrect and untimely transposition of Community law, use of options in the VAT Directive, transitional arrangements, different interpretation by the member states (place of supply of services, finance lease of means of transport, cost-sharing associations, partnership and VAT groups), and Community loyalty).