Language of document : ECLI:EU:C:2017:361

Case C36/16

Minister Finansów


Posnania Investment SA

(Request for a preliminary ruling
from the Naczelny Sąd Administracyjny)

(Reference for a preliminary ruling — Taxation — Common system of value added tax — Directive 2006/112/EC — Article 2(1)(a) — Article 14(1) — Taxable transactions — Meaning of ‘supply of goods for consideration’ — Transfer to the State or to a local authority of immovable property in order to settle a tax debt — Not included)

Summary — Judgment of the Court (Second Chamber), 11 May 2017

Harmonisation of fiscal legislation — Common system of value added tax — Supply of goods — Concept — Meaning of supply of goods for consideration — Transfer to the State or to a local authority of immovable property in order to settle a tax debt — Not included

(Council Directive 2006/112, Arts 2(1)(a) and 14(1))

Articles 2(1)(a) and 14(1) of Council Directive 2006/112/EC of 28 November 2006 on the common system of value added tax must be interpreted as meaning that the transfer of ownership of immovable property by a person subject to value added tax, for the benefit of the State Treasury or a local authority of a Member State, occurring, as in the main proceedings, in payment of tax arrears, does not constitute a supply of goods for consideration that is subject to value added tax.

Concerning the question whether the transaction transferring ownership of immovable property to a public entity — in this instance, the transfer of land to a municipality — in payment of tax arrears can be considered to have been made for consideration, it should be noted that a supply of goods is made ‘for consideration’, within the meaning of Article 2(1)(a) of the VAT Directive, only if there is a legal relationship between the supplier and the purchaser entailing reciprocal performance, the price received by the supplier constituting the value actually given in return for the goods supplied (judgments of 27 April 1999, Kuwait Petroleum, C‑48/97, EU:C:1999:203, paragraph 26, and of 21 November 2013, Dixons Retail, C‑494/12, EU:C:2013:758, paragraph 32).

However, the obligation of the taxpayer, as a debtor owing a tax debt, to make payment to the tax authorities, as creditor of that debt, is unilateral in nature inasmuch as the payment of the tax by that taxpayer results only in the statutory discharge of its tax debt, even if this is done, as in the present case, by means of the provision of immovable property.

A tax is a compulsory charge imposed by the sovereign power of the public authorities on the resources of persons coming under their fiscal jurisdiction. That charge is intended to be used, through public budgets, for services in the public interest. Such a charge, whether it relates to a sum of money or, as in the present case, to tangible property, does not result in any performance on the part of the public authority or, therefore, in any corresponding performance on the part of the taxable person.

(see paras 31, 33, 34, 42, operative part)