On 9 December 2015 the European Court of Justice ("ECJ") decided in the Dutch case Fiscale Eenheid X NV (C-595/13) that funds investing directly in real state can qualify as "special investment fund" for the purposes of the VAT exemption under the EU VAT Directive. Accordingly, the management of such "special investment fund" is exempt from VAT. Furthermore, the ECJ ruled that, in the case at hand, the actual management of real estate owned by the fund does not qualify as "management" within the meaning of the VAT exemption. This is a long-awaited landmark decision where the ECJ confirmed that the exemption for collective investment funds is not limited to funds investing in securities and can also apply to funds investing in real estate.
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