Global VAT Guide 2016

Cross border supplies of intangible services, rights and digital content

Tax Update


Focusing on supplies of intangibles, such as services, intellectual property rights and digital content, we consider this Global VAT Guide to be timely, given that revenue authorities throughout the world are increasingly focused on taxation issues for the growing e-commerce sector, both in a direct and indirect tax context. 

The release of this guide follows recent developments in this area, including: 

  • Recent Consumption Tax reforms in Japan which have applied to inbound e-commerce supplies from 1 October 2015 
  • Proposed GST reforms in New Zealand relating to inbound 'remote services' (including digital content) supplied in a B2C context which may be subject to GST from 1 October 2016 
  • GST reforms in Australia which will expand the scope of the GST to capture inbound intangible supplies in a B2C context from 1 July 2017 
  • Proposed VAT reforms in Russia for E-Commerce Services 

For convenience, we have used the term VAT in this guide to refer to value added taxes. Such taxes may be known by other names, including 'Goods and Services Tax' (GST) or Consumption Tax. We have also adopted the commonly used terms B2B to refer to 'business-tobusiness' and B2C to refer to 'business-to-consumer'. 

With over 300 world class legal professionals, DLA Piper’s Global Tax Group is one of the largest in the world, with one of the largest geographical footprints of any global law firm. We partner with our clients, wherever they do business, to find solutions and manage risk in relation to their legal challenges and objectives. We won International Tax Review’s award for European Indirect Tax Team of the Year in 2015. 

While this guide provides high level guidance, it is not a substitute for legal advice in relation to specific matters. This is particularly important for VAT matters, given that local laws and policy can change quickly and without notice and the economic and factual circumstances are so critical. In a European context, the detail of the rules in different EU jurisdictions can vary significantly. If you wish to speak to any of our advisers, their contact details are set out towards the back.