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Parliamentary questions
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19 March 2014
Answer given by Mr Šemeta on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: E-001439/2014

Introducing zero VAT rates for energy products such as gas and electricity used by households would not be in line with the current EU VAT law(1). However, after consultation of the VAT Committee, each Member State may apply a reduced VAT rate to the supply of natural gas, electricity or district heating. Based on the information available to the Commission, the UK currently applies a reduced VAT rate of 5% to natural gas and electricity.

There are no plans to extend zero rates to any new supply, as zero rates conflict with VAT being a general consumption tax levied on all taxable supplies of goods and services and reduce the economic efficiency of the VAT system and its purpose to generate revenue. Generally, other means, outside the VAT system, such as well targeted direct compensation paid to households are more efficient than using a general tax such as VAT for social policies.

For additional information concerning the rules on VAT rates and the possibility of applying a zero rate, the Commission would refer the Honourable Member to its answer to written questions P-5847/2010 by Mr George Lyon(2) and E-011212/2013 by Ms Nicole Sinclaire(3).

(1)Council Directive 2006/112/EC of 28 November 2006 on the common system of VAT — OJ 347, 11.12.06, p. 1 (in particular Art. 96).

OJ C 331, 23/09/2014
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