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The decision of the Court of Justice of The European Union (CJEU) in the case of Edward Cussens & Others v T.G. Brosnan C-251/16 was published on 22/11/2017. The case concerned the recovery of VAT in relation to property sales. Questions relating to the application of the principle on the prohibition of abusive practices in Ireland were referred to the CJEU.

Unlike certain other Member States, Ireland has not specifically implemented the prohibition of abusive practices principle in its VAT legislation. The Court held that this principle is a general, comprehensive and interdisciplinary European principle that can be invoked directly, irrespective of the absence of national measures specifically implementing it. This principle applies directly within the framework of the VAT directive. For example, it may be relied on against a taxable person to refuse him the right to exemption from VAT, even in the absence of provisions of national law providing for such refusal.

The Court held that the national authorities must disregard transactions that constitute an abusive practice and apply the relevant VAT legislation to the case as redefined according to the law.

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