VAT and insurance services
04 April 2016
The recent judgment of the European Court of Justice of 17 March 2016 (Case C-40/15, Aspiro Case) will have an important impact on the VAT exemption for Belgian insurers and insurance claim handlers. The Court concluded that insurance claim handling outsourced to third parties by insurers, cannot be exempt from VAT where the claim handling is not linked with the intermediation of insurance policies.
The current Belgian Administrative guidelines, contrary to many other Member States, allow a broad application of the VAT exemption even where insurance claims are handled by a party not involved in finding or introducing the prospect to the insurer.
The exemption’s broad application was provisionally allowed in 2007 until new definitions of exempt financial and insurance services were decided at EU level. As the latter (i.e. project to adapt the VAT Directive) has apparently been abandoned and given the clear judgment in the Aspiro Case, we would expect the scope of the Belgian VAT exemption for claims handling services to be limited in the near future.
Insurers and claim handling service providers should now anticipate the impact of this Case Law (i.e. additional VAT cost) and take the necessary steps to avoid or mitigate possible difficulties.
Should you have any further question or require a personal advice with respect to the impact of these rules on your company, please contact your usual contact person at BDO or you may send an email to [email protected] for the attention of one of the members of the Competence Centre VAT:
- Erwin Boumans, 02/778.01.00
- Pascal Dauw, 09/210.54.10
- Kaatje Bondewel, 02/778.01.00
- Brigitte Braeckmans, 03/230.58.40