Geissel – European Court of Justice finds that a letter box address is a valid address for VAT purposes

The European VAT rules require that an invoice provide the “full” name and address of the supplier. The 5th Chamber of the ECJ has held that this requirement can be satisfied by a “letter box” address of a correctly-named supplier, noting that the principal focus of the purchaser, and the tax authority auditing its input tax deduction claim for the VAT charged by the letter box supplier, should be on whether that supplier had a valid VAT registration.

This policy is reflected in the Input Tax Credit Information (GST/HST) Regulations, which do not require disclosure of the supplier’s address. However, a similar issue might arise under the interprovincial place-of-supply rules which, in various contexts, reference “the address in Canada obtained by the supplier.” As with the VAT rule, there is no explicit prohibition against a letter box address.

Neal Armstrong. Summary of Rochus Geissel, as liquidator of RGEX GmbH v Finanzamt Neuss (Neuss Tax Office), C‑374/16, [2017] BVC 58 (European Court of Justice, 5th Chamber) under New Harmonized Value-added Tax System Regulations, Pt I, s. 13(1).