Add a bookmark to get started

6 July 20232 minute read

VAT rules for “vouchers” do not apply to “discount coupons”


According to the Italian Tax Authority (Ruling no. 341/2023), the EU Directive No. 2916/1065 on single-purpose and multi-purpose vouchers (the “EU Voucher Directive”) does not apply to discount coupons that only entitle the purchaser to a discount on the purchase price net of VAT. Such indication is made clear by recital No. 4 of the EU Voucher Directive which states that "instruments entitling the holder to a discount upon purchase of goods or services but carrying no right to receive such goods or services should not be targeted by these rules”.

The qualification of such instruments as a “discount coupons” would result (a) in a reduction of the price to be paid by the consumer for the purchase of certain goods and services and (b) in a reduction in the taxable amount for VAT purposes under Article 13 of the Italian VAT Decree (implementing art. 90 of the EU VAT Directive), in accordance with CJEU case law (see, C-317/94, C-398/99 and C-288/94).

The Italian Tax Authorities did not rule on the possible application of regulatory and tax rules related to prize-winning operations.


Key takeaway

When organising promotional activities with the aim to boost sale of goods and services, attention should be paid to the characteristics and nature of the instruments provided in order to determine whether the provisions of the EU Voucher Directive apply, i.e., whether the certificates qualify as “single or multi-purpose vouchers" or simply as "discount coupons".