VAT wrongfully charged on radio and TV licence fees
Plesner is of the opinion that the Danish Customs and Tax Administration (SKAT) has wrongfully charged VAT on radio and TV licence fees over the years. Plesner is currently examining whether an action against the Danish State for repayment of VAT on licence fees would receive sufficient backing.
In Denmark, SKAT charges VAT on radio and TV licence fees. Households pay a licence fee to the Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR), which then pays the VAT amount to SKAT. The VAT amount makes up 20 per cent of the total licence fee.
Last year, the Court of Justice of the European Union held that it was unlawful to charge VAT on licence fees in a case concerning Czech radio licence fees. The case concerned a Czech public radio broadcasting body, which is funded by a statutory licence fee. The fee is a compulsory charge payable by anyone who owns or possesses a radio receiver.
In Denmark, the Minister for Taxation has evaluated the EU judgment and has concluded that Denmark is entitled to charge VAT on radio and TV licence fees under the authority of a special exemption (a so-called stand-still clause). Accordingly, the Minister for Taxation does not find the judgment to have any bearing on the right to charge VAT on licence fees in Denmark.
In Plesner’s view, the Minister for Taxation is wrong in his conclusion, and a stand-still clause does not provide a basis for charging VAT on licence fees in Denmark. As a result, licence payers are generally entitled to repayment of VAT charged on any licence fees they have paid to DR. The Danish statute of limitations implies that licence payers may claim repayment of VAT paid on licence fees for the past three years at least.
In light of the Minister’s statement on the lawfulness of charging VAT on licence fees in Denmark, Plesner believes that it is necessary to bring the matter before the courts of law in order to obtain repayment of VAT charged on licence fees. An action can only be brought if the initiative is sufficiently and widely supported. For this purpose, Plesner has made it possible for licence payers to submit a non-binding expression of interest in participating in an action for repayment of VAT charged on licence fees at the website (in Danish) www.licensmoms.dk.
If you would like to submit a non-binding expression of interest in participating in such an action, you can do so by answering a few questions at www.licensmoms.dk. You will be kept informed about the further process.