VAT on Postal Services

01-06-2003

Most public postal services are currently exempt from VAT. The recent opening up of the market, however, has brought into being alternative operators which are obliged to charge VAT. The effect is to distort competition in a number of ways. The Commission is proposing to remedy the situation by introducing VAT on all postal services, but giving Member States the option to charge a reduced rate on letters and parcels below 2Kg. in weight. This Briefing examines the background and details of the proposal, together with some of the problems it raises.

Most public postal services are currently exempt from VAT. The recent opening up of the market, however, has brought into being alternative operators which are obliged to charge VAT. The effect is to distort competition in a number of ways. The Commission is proposing to remedy the situation by introducing VAT on all postal services, but giving Member States the option to charge a reduced rate on letters and parcels below 2Kg. in weight. This Briefing examines the background and details of the proposal, together with some of the problems it raises.