Santogal. VAT exemption on intra-Community supply of new means of transport. No condition that the purchaser resides in the member state of destination. Court of Justice

Judgment of the Court of Justice in the case of Santogal.

1. Article 138(2)(a) of Council Directive 2006/112/EC precludes national provisions from making the benefit of the exemption of an intra-Community supply of a new means of transport subject to the requirement that the purchaser of that means of transport must be established or domiciled in the Member State of destination of that means of transport. 
2. Article 138(2)(a) of Directive 2006/112 must be interpreted as meaning that the exemption of a supply of a new means of transport cannot be refused in the Member State of supply on the sole ground that that means of transport has been registered only temporarily in the Member State of destination. 
3. Article 138(2)(a) of Directive 2006/112 precludes the vendor of a new means of transport, transported by the purchaser to another Member State and registered in that latter State temporarily, from being required to pay value added tax at a later stage when it is not established that the temporary registration regime has ended and value added tax has or will be paid in the Member State of destination. 
4. Article 138(2)(a) of Directive 2006/112 as well as the principles of legal certainty, proportionality and protection of legitimate expectations preclude the vendor of a new means of transport, transported by the purchaser to another Member State and registered on a temporary basis in that State, from being required to pay value added tax at a later stage in the event of tax evasion by the purchaser, unless it has been established, in the light of objective evidence, that that vendor knew or ought to have known that the transaction was part of a fraud committed by the purchaser and he did not take all reasonable steps within his power to avoid his participation in that fraud. It is for the referring court to verify whether this is the case on the basis of an overall assessment of all the evidence and circumstances of the case in the main proceedings. 
 
 

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