My iPad is an essential equipment for my daily work. It grants me immediate access to all the relevant legislation, various legal commentaries and publications. Recently I was involved in the hearing of a case, where I had to provide expert opinion to the UK High Court as to why a company had no permanent establishment from a Swiss VAT perspective in the case at hand. At this time I had a big surprise with my iPad. No, no technical fault – of course, that does not happen with an iPad. It was more of a „human experience“, namely the judge instructed me that such gadgets cannot be used in the front of the Court, apparently they are not that developed in this regard. When later the sun blinds were used, he frowned that at least these were electronically operated.
The case deals with the situation, whether the rental of holiday homes in Switzerland by a UK company was subject to Swiss VAT prior to 1 January 2010. According to the „new“ Swiss VAT legislation (Article 8 (2) (f)), which is effective from this date, the place of supply of accommodation services is deemed to be where the property is located. However, until the end of 2009, under the „old“ Swiss VAT law these services were only taxable in Switzerland if the lessor of the holiday homes had a permanent establishment in the country.
Whether I was successful in convincing the Court without my iPad, that my client did not have a permanent establishment before 2010, is remain to be seen. The Court has not decided yet.