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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 25 September 2014

Taxation: Commission refers The Netherlands to the Court over VAT exemption for water sport activities

The European Commission has decided to refer The Netherlands to the European Court of Justice for failing to fully comply with EU rules on VAT exemptions for water sports activities.

Under the VAT Directive, the supply of sport or physical education services by non-profit making organisations is exempt from VAT.

However, the Netherlands only grants that exemption if the organisations in question do not employ workers to supply these services, but volunteers. The Commission considers that this additional condition is not allowed by the VAT Directive.

On the other hand, The Netherlands allows a VAT exemption for the letting of berths and moorings for vessels (provided by such water sport organisations), even when it is not linked to sport activities. The Commission considers that this is too wide an application, and that the VAT exemption should only be given when these berths and vessel storage places are let for sport activities.

The Commission already sent a reasoned opinion formally requesting The Netherlands to comply with the VAT Directive, but the Dutch authorities refused to change the law.

Useful links

For press releases on infringement cases in the taxation or customs field see:

For the latest general information on infringement measures against Member States see:

On the September infringement package decisions: MEMO/14/537

On the general infringement procedure: see MEMO/12/12

Contacts :

Emer Traynor (+32 2 292 15 48)

Franck Arrii (+32 2 297 22 21)

For the public: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 6 7 8 9 10 11 or by e­mail

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