During its ECOFIN-meeting of July 13, 2021 the Council of the European Union adopted an amendment to Council Directive 2006/112/EC of 28 November 2006 on the common system of value added tax (The VAT Directive) introducing a temporary VAT exemption on importations and on certain supplies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The ‘buy and donate’ directive will make it easier for the Commission and EU agencies to buy goods and services in order to distribute them free of charge to Member States in the context of the ongoing public health crisis.


To achieve this the adopted Directive amends the Articles 143 and 151 Council Directive 2006/112/EC of 28 November 2006 on the common system of value added tax. To cover the measures addressing the effects of the pandemic that are already underway, the directive will apply retroactively from 1 January 2021.


Member States shall adopt and publish, by December 31, 2021, the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with this Directive.


Through this update, purchases of goods and services by an EU body on behalf of member states to respond to the emergency posed by the COVID-19 pandemic are temporarily added to the list of exempted transactions in the VAT directive. The new exemption will allow for more donations to Member States and their institutions, as it will relieve the EU bodies of the budgetary and administrative burdens that hampered the process.


Thanks to this amendment, the Commission and the EU agencies will be able to make the best possible use of the EU budget in addressing the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Once this emergency situation is over, the applicable VAT rates will be restored.


Click here to be forwarded to the text of the Council Directive amending Directive 2006/112/EC as regards exemptions on importations and on certain supplies, in respect of Union measures in the public interest


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