On June 1, 2023 the European Commission published the key decisions of the June 2023 infringements package. The key decisions published include a reasoned opinion that was sent to Cyprus for its failure to properly apply EU VAT rules for dwellings purchased or constructed in Cyprus.
According to the European Commission Cyprus allows a reduced rate of VAT of 5% on the first 200 square meters of dwellings used as the principal and permanent residence by the beneficiary, without any other limitations. The VAT Directive (Council Directive 2006/112/EC) does allow Member States to apply a reduced rate of VAT on housing as part of a social policy. According to the European Commission however, the wide scope of the Cypriot legislation and the lack of limitations therein indicate that the measure goes beyond that objective. In particular, the reduced rate is applied regardless of the income, assets and economic situation of the beneficiary, the members of the family that will reside in the dwelling, and the maximum total area of the dwellings concerned. Consequently, the Commission considers that Cyprus has failed to fulfil its obligations under the VAT Directive.
The reasoned opinion follows up on the letter of formal notice which the European Commission has sent to Cyprus in July 2021. Cyprus now has two months to address the shortcomings identified in the reasoned opinion. If Cyprus does not act within the next two months, the Commission may decide to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union.
The key decisions of the June infringement package as published by the European Commission can be found here.
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