Since 01.01.2019, an amendment to the EU VAT Directive has divided vouchers into two groups:
- Single-purpose vouchers and
- Multi-purpose vouchers
In the case of a single-purpose voucher, the nature of the supply to which the voucher relates and the VAT due on the supply are already known at the time of issue.
Single-purpose vouchers are issued for a defined product or service, i.e. issued exclusively for "one purpose". For example:
- Voucher for a men's haircut which can be redeemed in all branches of the provider.
- Voucher for a visit to the cinema.
- Voucher for a specific bicycle accessory.
If the above requirements are not met, the voucher is a multi-purpose voucher.
Multi-purpose vouchers are, for example, classic value vouchers. For instance:
- Hairdresser's voucher for EUR 100.
- Voucher of a clothing shop worth 200 EUR, which can be redeemed both at home and abroad in the branches of the voucher issuer.
- Voucher of a supermarket chain worth 150 EUR.
Which product or service the customer pays for in detail with the respective (value) vouchers has not yet been determined when the voucher is issued - it was therefore issued for "several purposes". The customer could use the respective voucher for example to pay for goods from different VAT categories. Thus, the amount of VAT due is not yet known at the time the voucher is issued.
For VAT purposes, single-purpose and multi-purpose vouchers are each treated differently.
Since single-purpose vouchers are issued for a specific product / service, the amount of VAT is already determined when the voucher is issued. The tax authorities assume that the service is rendered at the time of issuance, therefore the VAT liability is also triggered at this time.
In the case of multi-purpose vouchers, the tax liability arises only upon the later actual performance of the service or upon the actual purchase of goods.
- Single-purpose vouchers: immediate inclusion of VAT in the message to the fiscal client on voucher sale
- Multi-purpose vouchers: no VAT on voucher sales. Only included when the voucher is redeemed.