Directive 77/388/EEC – VAT – Concept of “exempted letting of immovable property”







Judge Rapporteur

Advocate General


Reference for  preliminary ruling

Régie communale autonome du stade Luc Varenne VEtat belge


9th Ch.

M. Safjan




Directive 77/388/EEC — VAT — Exemptions — Article 13B(b) — Concept of ‘exempted letting of immovable property’ — Provision, for consideration, of a football stadium — Contract for provision reserving certain rights and prerogatives to the owner — Supply, by the owner, of various services representing 80% of the charge specified in the contract

Significant points

  1. Article 13B(b) of the Sixth Council Directive 77/388/EEC of 17 May 1977 on the harmonisation of the laws of the Member States relating to turnover taxes — Common system of value added tax: uniform basis of assessment constitutes an exception to the general principle that VAT is to be levied on all services supplied for consideration by a taxable person and it must therefore be interpreted strictly.
  2. As a result, this provision , must be interpreted as meaning that the act of making available, for consideration, a football stadium under a contract reserving certain rights and prerogatives to the stadium owner and providing for the supply, by the owner, of various services, including services of maintenance, cleaning, repair and upgrading, representing 80% of the charge which is agreed in the contact to be payable, does not constitute, as a general rule, a ‘letting of immovable property’ within the meaning of that provision. The finding of the facts is however for the referring court.
  3. In the circumstances at issue of the main proceedings, what seems to be involved is the supply, by the corporation, of a more complicated service consisting of provision of access to sporting facilities, where the corporation takes charge of the supervision, management, maintenance and cleaning of those facilities. In this respect, the length of the period of enjoyment specified in the supply contract concerns a maximum of 18 days when football is played, such a period not being a priori negligible. The referring court will however have to assess whether, in the light of all the circumstances, the contractual period of enjoyment should rather be classified as being occasional and temporary, which would be additional evidence in support of the view being taken that the transaction at issue in the main proceedings, considered as a whole, should be classified as a supply of services rather than as a letting of immovable property