29 April 2016

Transport cost on delivery of goods or services: what VAT rate applies?

NOTE: This article is out of date: read the update for 2019 here

As a supplier, the goods or services you supply to your customer sometimes include transport. Usually the transport cost will already be included in the sale price of the goods or services, but such costs are sometimes charged for or settled separately.

Provided the goods (where several types of goods are delivered) or services are subject to the same VAT rate, there is no question about the VAT rate applicable to the transport costs whose charge has been passed on. 

The transport cost charged by the supplier or service-provider is the same as the VAT rate applicable to the delivered goods or service. The basis for this VAT treatment can be found in the VAT legislation, which states that ‘the costs of transport, among other things, shall be included in the taxable amount if they are charged by the supplier or service-provider, regardless of whether this is done by means of a separate debit document or even under a separate agreement (Article 26 (2) of the VAT Code)’.

Transport costs sometimes relate to several types of goods and/or services that are subject to different rates. In principle, these costs should then be apportioned pro rata. However, the Administration accepts transport costs being uniformly charged at the lowest rate that applies to the invoiced goods, provided that the goods charged at the lowest rate are delivered at the same time as the other goods.

Suppose you sell flowers and plants to your customer (partly at 6% and partly at 21%). You use the services of a transport company, which delivers the flowers and plants to your customer and charges you VAT at 21% for this. This transport cost can be passed on to your customer at a rate of 6% provided that the flowers and plants (with different rates) are delivered at the same time.

NOTE: This article is out of date: read the update for 2019 here

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