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European Union Court of Justice – Subscription contract on supply of consulting services 

A company concluded a consulting service agreement in which a supplier committed to provide necessary consulting services, prepare requested documents and refrain from entering into contracts with a company’s competitors. The company agreed to pay subscription fee. The Tax Authorities challenged the right to deduct input VAT related because no proof was presented as to the type, quantity and nature of the services actually acquired. The contract defined only the scope of the consulting services and did not indicate any specific result to be achieved as regard to the subject-matter, performance deadline, manner of receipt or unit price of those services.

It was requested to explain whether the subscription services can be considered as supply of services.

EUCJ stated that:

  • Supply of services is therefore taxable only if a legal relationship exists between a provider of services and a recipient pursuant to which there is reciprocal performance, a remuneration received by a provider of services constitutes the value actually given in return for service supplied to a recipient.
  • The fact that services provided are neither defined in advance nor personalised and that the payment is made in the form of a lump sum is also not such as to affect the direct link between the supply of services made and the consideration received, the amount of which is determined in advance on the basis of well-established criteria.

So it was reminded that supply of services includes subscription contracts for consulting services, when a provider of services obligates to be available to a customer in order to provide consulting services during the period of subscription.


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