Michaela Merz

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POLAND: Change in the the simplified scheme for import VAT as of 1 May 2019

The cash-free import VAT settlement, as a result of the simplified procedure, will be limited from 1 May 2019. The end of April 2019 is the limit date for the reassessment of permits to use the simplified procedure. The need for their re-verification resulted from the introduction of the EU Customs Code (UCC) instead of the previously applicable Community Customs Code (CCC). Continue reading

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RUSSIA: Registration obligation for non-resident providers of electronic services as from 1 of January 2019

From 1st January 2019, foreign suppliers of business-to-business (B2B) electronically supplied services are required to register with the Federal Tax Service in Russia.The method applied in 2018 whereby the Russian business customer collects and remits the VAT at the standard 18% rate to the tax authorities through the reverse charge mechanism is not applicable anymore. Continue reading


POLAND: Mandatory split payment mechanism to be introduced as from 1 July 2019

On 23 January 2019, the European Commission published a draft derogation decision enabling Poland to introduce a mandatory split payment mechanism for selected goods and types of business operations.

The project assumes that Poland has the right to use the obligatory split payment in the period from March 1, 2019 to February 28, 2022. Please find below the most important information resulting from the draft derogation decision: Continue reading

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Global ITX webcast: Single digital economy

I am delighted to invite you to the next in the series of PwC’s global indirect tax webcasts: ‘EU: creating the single digital economy 2020-21’ on Wednesday 30 January 2019 at 3pm GMT. A panel of specialists from across PwC’s indirect and direct tax practices will discuss the EU Commission’s proposed implementing regulations for 2020-21 and the consequent indirect tax, customs, direct tax and technology systems implications. Continue reading

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Carl and the 20 francs

Carl and Emilie married when they both had already passed 50. For Carl it was his second marriage, for Emilie the third. Both had adult children from their previous marriages. Carl and Emilie were happy that they had met, they fitted together well, they shared the same values, liked dogs and good order.

One day Emilie’s son-in -law visited and wanted to borrow money from Carl to extend his business. Carl was uneasy. His principle was not to lend money to colleagues and family in order to avoid friction. Not surprisingly, he refused.

But the son-in-law came again and again and at every visit asked again. It got well and truly on Carl’s nerves. Suddenly Emilie also began to plead with Carl to convince him to lend the money to her son-in-law. The tension increased and a cosy home became a stressful household, because at any moment Emilie could bring up the topic again.

Eventually Carl couldn’t bear it any longer and gave in. Contracts were signed, the money changed hands and peace reigned again. But not for long. After 2 years the son-in-law was not in a position to repay the loan. His debts had grown enormously and his business had not developed as hoped. He had to close down.

Carl wanted his money back and now the situation changed, neither the son-in-law nor Emilie wanted to talk to Carl about it. After almost two years with various attempts Carl found his way to the debt collection agency. The procedure was not pleasant and Carl received back only part of his money and had to settle various outlays. 

The relationship between Carl and Emilie grew very frosty. From then on, they were no longer a loving couple but only a partnership of convenience, like flat-sharing, each with his own room. They shared the work and the costs, but unfortunately no longer their love.

In the meantime, they are both nearly 80, still live together butthe old wounds are still open. They were no longer able to rediscover their old love. Yesterday at dinner they discussed what will happen when one of them dies. Emilie said that she will certainly not organise Carls funeral, Carls children should do that. Carl asked Emilie whether she had saved his children’s telephone numbers. Emily said, no, and she will also not do so.

Carl then went into his room and wrote on the white wall above his bed in large red numbers the telephone numbers of all his three children. Beside them he nailed a 20 franc note for Emilie’s costs. Emilie found that appalling. That didn’t worry Carl. He found it somehow comforting to sleep below the numbers of his children every evening.

When I heard the story, I thought that I understand why people, who in old age look for new partners, add – without hangovers from the past. Such hangovers are more noxious than hazardous waste sites and apparently can destroy a lot.

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Carl und die 20 Franken Note

Als Carl und Emilie heirateten, da hatten sie beide schon das 50te Lebensjahr überschritten. Für Carl war es die zweite Ehe, für Emilie die dritte.
Beide hatten aus ihren vorherigen Ehen erwachsene Kinder. Carl und Emilie waren froh, sich gefunden zu haben, sie passten gut zusammen, teilten ähnliche Werte, liebten Hunde und Ordnung.
Einmal ist der Schwiegersohn von Emilie gekommen und wollte sich von Carl Geld leihen, um sein Unternehmen aufzubauen. Carl war es nicht geheuer. Er hatte den Grundsatz, kein Geld an Kollegen und die Familie auszuleihen, einfach um Reibereien zu vermeiden. Er sagte, nicht überraschend, "Nein".
Aber der Schwiegersohn kam immer wieder und fragte bei jedem Besuch neu. Carl ist dies gehörig auf die Nerven gegangen. Plötzlich begann Emilie auch auf Carl einzureden, um ihn zu überzeugen, ihrem Schwiegersohn das Geld auszuleihen. Die Spannung stieg und aus dem gemütlichen Zuhause war ein stressiger Ort geworden, weil Emilie konnte in jede Sekunde das Thema wieder anschneiden.
Irgendwann konnte Carl nicht mehr und sagte "Ja". Verträge wurden unterschrieben, das Geld wechselte die Hand und Ruhe ist wieder eingekehrt.
Aber nicht lange. Nach 2 Jahren war der Schwiegersohn nicht im Stande das Darlehen zurück zu zahlen. Seine Schulden waren gewaltig gewachsen und sein Unternehmen hat sich nicht so entwickelt wie erhofft. Er musste schliessen.
Carl wollte sein Geld zurück und jetzt drehte die Situation, denn weder der Schwiegersohn noch Emilie wollten mit Carl darüber reden. Nach fast 2 Jahren verschiedener Versuche, hat Carl den Weg zum Betreibungsamt gemacht. Das Verfahren war nicht schön und Carl erhielt nur Teil seines Geldes, dazu musste er verschiedene Auslagen zahlen.
Die Beziehung zwischen Carl und Emilie kühlte sehr ab. Ab diesem Zeitpunkt waren sie kein Liebespaar mehr, sondern nur eine Zweckgemeinschaft, quasi eine WG, jeder mit eigenem Zimmer. Sie teilten sich die Aufgaben, die Kosten, aber leider nicht mehr die Liebe.
Mittlerweile sind beide fast 80 Jahre alt, wohnen immer noch zusammen aber die alten Wunden sind offen geblieben. An die alte Liebe konnten sie nicht mehr anknüpfen. Gestern haben sie beim Nachtessen diskutiert, was passiert, wenn einer von ihnen stirbt. Emilie sagte, dass sie sicher nicht das Begräbnis von Carl organisieren werde. Das sollen gefälligst Carls Kinder machen. Carl fragte Emilie, ob sie die Telefonnummer von seinen Kindern denn gespeichert hatte. Emilie sagte, nein und sie wollte es auch nicht tun.
Da ging Carl in sein Zimmer und schrieb auf die weisse Wand oberhalb seines Bettes in grossen roten Zahlen die Telefonnummern aller seiner 3 Kinder. 
Daneben nagelte er eine 20 Franken Note für Emilies Auslagen. Emilie fand es ensetzlich. Das war Carl egal. Er hat es irgendwie beruhigend gefunden jeden Abend unter der Nummer seiner Kinder einzuschlafen.
Als ich diese Geschichte hörte, dachte ich, dass ich verstehe, warum Leute, die im reifen Alter einen neuen Partner suchen als Zusatz oft "ohne Altlasten" schreiben. Solche Altlasten sind giftiger als eine Sondermülldeponie und können offensichtlich sehr viel kaputt machen.

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Street Musicians

I love artists, who perform on the street. Whether classical music, song, pop, paintings, acrobats, comedians, actors, living statues. I can watch them all and enthuse about a good performance.

I admire the really good artists and feel sorry for the mediocre. I like watching and let myself by entertained and carried away. Then I’m generous, because a good performance should be rewarded and if someone succeeds in making me laugh, I also want to show my appreciation.

There are highlights, like in June at Whitsun in Ascona with the Artisti di strada, who transform the piazza into numerous open-air stages. One can laugh, wonder and take part (very often against one’s will) from morning to late in the night. The artists come from the whole world and also provide world class performances. In London in Covent Garden there is also always something to admire with a wide range of opera music through to popular comedy. In Prague on the Altstadtplatz there is also entertainment to be found.

German-speaking Switzerland is miserly with such offerings. Perhaps it’s because of the strict laws, which require an official licence for practically everything. Occasionally there are street musicians at the lakeside in Zürich, whom one can listen to, and in Berne not far from the station towards the Bundeshaus there are also occasionally musicians. One of my clients has its offices in Berne. I visited them and was having a conversation with the CFO. Below the window a fairly well played violin piece of classical music. I thought it was great and commented very positively about the artistic performance. Continue reading