|Opis:||The master's thesis presents travel agencies’ taxation issue from the point of view of their
imposition of value added tax. The European Directive allows the Member States to use a special
tour operator's scheme which provides only for the margin, the difference in price, obtained by
the travel agent in respect of the services rendered to the customer to be subject to the value
added tax. The condition laid down by such legislation is that the tour operator acts on its own
behalf and for its own account and, providing its services, uses the goods and services supplied
by other taxable persons. The result of such taxation is that the purchased service gets subject to
taxation at the place where it is actually supplied, whereas the services charged by the tour
operator are taxed where the headquarters of the travel agency is.
The application of this scheme enables the travel agency services to regard the service as a
composite (combined) service, and charges them as such directly to the traveller. The question is
raised of who is the customer – the client that purchases and uses these services. Is the customer
the final purchaser (usually a travel arrangement is purchased by a natural person) or can another
travel agency purchase and resell the travel arrangement to the final customer? This question was
highlighted in the first part of the paper with a detailed analysis of the scheme's provisions.
The original Council Directive on the common value added tax scheme from 1977 defined the
scope of the special scheme in paragraph 1, Article 26, and used the term »customer«, however,
the term »traveller« was used in the following paragraphs. The Council Directive in 2006 used
the same terminology, however, the problem emerged during the translation of this provision to
the languages of the Member States, as some countries used the term »customer« as the entity
ordering the services only used once, and some Member States used the term »traveller«
For the purposes of the margin scheme the »traveller« is not necessarily someone who travels.
The legislator's intention was that the word »traveller« is not limited only to a narrow category of
persons, but applies to »customers« that benefit the holiday package and includes other travel
agencies which resell this service. Otherwise the principle of neutrality between taxable persons
would be infringed and would cause distorted competition between business entities.
At the EU level, it is mandatory to identify that the so-called margin calculation applies to travel
agencies in relation to the customer, regardless of whether it is a natural or a legal person and
that the uniform scheme is applicable in all Member States.
As early as in 2002 the European Commission raised the issue of the use of a special (margin)
scheme for travel operators and proposed an amendment of Article 26 in the Directive Six.
According to the Commission, in compliance with this legislation, the margin scheme is only
implemented if the purchaser is a traveller (the so-called Purchaser's approach). In 2007, the
Commission initiated proceedings against several Member States and instituted the proceedings
regarding the revision of the scheme against eight Member States at the European Court of
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These countries implemented the margin scheme irrespective of whether the purchaser is the
traveller or not (the so-called Traveller's approach). The European Court of Justice ruled in
favour of these countries2 in 2013, establishing that the margin scheme can be applied to all
kinds of customers, both when the travel agent resells the service to another travel agency and
when the final consumer is also the purchaser of the service.
This judgement has led to considerable disagreement by travel agencies, which is explained in
detail in the third part, where the Member States that still proceed contrary to the judgement are