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Poland required by ECJ to raise reduced VAT on fire services

  • VAT
  • 17 January 2015 | Richard Asquith

Poland required by ECJ to raise reduced VAT on fire services

Poland has been requested to reclassify supplies to the fire service from the reduced VAT rate of 9% to the standard VAT rate of 23%.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) held that since such services were not entitled to benefit from the reduced rate as per the EU VAT Directive (Annex III), the country was in violation of EU VAT rules. It would therefore be required to reassess the Polish VAT rates. Poland had claimed that such a change would impose unsupportable financial strain on the fire service. However, the ECJ rejected this claim, and that Poland was obliged to follow the EU VAT Directive.

On a number of occasions, the ECJ has ruled against Poland on reduced VAT rates.  In 2011, it required Poland to raise the VAT rate on children's clothing to 23%.  Whilst other countries, such as the UK and Ireland, have reduced or nil rates, the ECJ will only grant such a derogation if it is agreed at the time a country joins the European Union.


VP Global Indirect Tax
Richard Asquith
VP Global Indirect Tax Richard Asquith
Richard Asquith is VP Global Indirect Tax at Avalara, helping businesses understand their compliance obligations as they grow globally. He is part of the European leadership team which this year won International Tax Review's Tax Technology Firm of the Year. Richard qualified as an accountant with KPMG in the UK, and went on to work in Hungary, Russia and France with EY.