Key facts of the case:
Request for a preliminary ruling from the Najvyšší súd Slovenskej republiky.
Reference for a preliminary ruling — Common system of value added tax (VAT) — Directive 2006/112/EC — Articles 167 to 171 — Right to deduct VAT — Right to refunds of VAT for taxable persons not established in the Member State of refund — Article 178(a) — Rules governing the exercise of the right to deduct VAT — Directive 2008/9/EC — Detailed rules for the refund of VAT — Limitation period — Principle of fiscal neutrality — VAT charged and paid several years after delivery of the goods in question — Refusal to allow the exercise of the right to a refund due to the expiry of the time limit which should have started to run from the date of supply of the goods.
Outcome of the case:
On those grounds, the Court (Second Chamber) hereby rules:
EU law must be interpreted as meaning that it precludes legislation of a Member State under which, in circumstances such as those at issue in the main proceedings in which the value added tax (VAT) was charged to the taxable person and paid by it several years after delivery of the goods in question, the benefit of the right to claim a refund of VAT is denied on the grounds that the limitation period provided for by that legislation for the exercise of that right began to run from the date of supply and expired before the application for a refund was submitted.
1) This request for a preliminary ruling concerns the interpretation of Article 167 and of Article 178(a) of Council Directive 2006/112/EC of 28 November 2006 on the common system of value added tax (OJ 2006 L 347, p. 1), as amended by Council Directive 2008/8/EC of 12 February 2008 (OJ 2008 L 44, p. 11) (‘Directive 2006/112’), of Council Directive 2008/9/EC of 12 February 2008 laying down detailed rules for the refund of value added tax, provided for in Directive 2006/112/EC, to taxable persons not established in the Member State of refund but established in another Member State (OJ 2008 L 44, p. 23), and Article 41 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (‘the Charter’) and of the principles of fiscal neutrality and proportionality.
5) May the principles of legal certainty, legitimate expectations and the right to good administration under Article 41 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union be interpreted as precluding an interpretation of the national legislation under which, for the purposes of observance of the time limit for claiming a tax refund, the time of the decision of the administrative authority on the tax refund is decisive, and not the time at which the tax refund is claimed by the taxable person?’