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European Parliament Recommends Harmonising E-invoicing Across the EU

Kelly Muniz
March 11, 2022

On 10 March, the European Parliament (EP) adopted a Resolution to the Commission’s Action Plan on fair and simple taxation supporting the recovery strategy, which set forth 25 initiatives predominantly related to European Union Value Added Tax (EU VAT). The document includes several general considerations and recommendations to the Commission for the VAT Directive revision proposal (“VAT in the Digital Age”) for 2022.

Changes to the EU VAT tax policy

The EP’s resolution addressed the significant challenges in the European Union (EU) VAT tax policy and placed particular attention on the simplification, modernisation and harmonisation of such rules by uniform adoption of technology tools across all Member States, including digital and e-invoicing requirements and mandates.

The updated resolution highlights a concern around the lack of sufficient support from the Council regarding the definitive VAT regime, that is, the shift from origin to destination principle, still due for implementation. In such a system, VAT will be levied at the place of destination, leaving behind the complex transitional VAT system rules.

EU VAT tax policy challenges

Concerns were also raised on the complexity of the multiple tax regulations across the EU and the constraints this entails, particularly for small and medium enterprise (SME) compliance and for those vulnerable to fraud. Added to these factors are the high costs borne by businesses to conform to the multitude of legislative requirements in the different jurisdictions. The Parliament makes an urgent call for a consistent move towards a more straightforward and modern VAT system.

Moving towards simpler VAT reporting

More specifically, the EP described the Commission’s efforts to harmonise procedural rules across the EU and encourage closer cooperation efforts among tax authorities and businesses through the EU Cooperative compliance program as of “highest importance”.

The objective of various points was to use technology as an effective means for simple and modern tax compliance. Digitization of VAT was utterly welcomed as a means for modern and simplified VAT compliance, where real-time or near real-time reporting and e-invoicing is to be utilised by Member States in a uniform and harmonised manner across EU all jurisdictions.

On the same front, recommendations were for one-time collection of data by the tax authority aligned with utmost protection and respect regarding data security legislation, and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and various software to ensure maximum effectiveness of data usage and security. Adopting digitization requirements will enhance security, prevent and combat fraud and increase administrative cooperation among Member States.

The resolution also targeted the new Union business and taxation agenda, supporting the design of a new and single Union corporate tax rulebook, which should reflect the OECD Pillar 1 (reallocation of taxing rights) and Pillar 2 (minimum tax on corporate profit) negotiations.

These recommendations are to be followed by the European Commission’s submission of one or more legislative proposals by 2022/2023.

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Author

Kelly Muniz

Kelly Muniz is a Junior Regulatory Counsel at Sovos. Based in Stockholm and originally from Brazil, Kelly earned a Bachelor’s degree in Law in her home country, where she worked as a licensed lawyer. She also holds a Master’s degree in EU Business Law from Lund University in Sweden.
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