There’s been increased discussion among different institutions about the introduction of continuous transaction controls (CTCs) in Germany to combat tax fraud and boost the competitiveness of the German market in Europe.
Supporters of a CTC reform
Proponents of the introduction of CTCs in Germany include, among others: the parliamentary group of the business-friendly Free Democratic Party (FDP), the German Association for Electronic Invoicing (VeR) and an independent judiciary body, the German Bundesrechnungshof (Federal Audit Office).
Recently, we’ve seen this topic included in tax policy negotiations of the coalition partners that emerged from the recent German government elections (the Social Democratic Party (SPD), FDP, and the Green Party).
While the discussions remain at a conceptual level, the new potential coalition parties display political will for reform in this area.
Proposals on CTC reform
Specifically, the German Bundesrechnungshof proposed to the Ministry of Finance a real-time reporting system leveraging blockchain technology as an efficient system to combat VAT fraud. However, their proposal wasn’t accepted on the grounds that a cost-benefit analysis is required before such measures are proposed and implemented.
As part of a parliamentary process the FDP called for “an electronic reporting system comparable to the Italian SDI to be introduced nationwide as quickly as possible, for the creation and testing and forwarding of invoices can be used”. The leading German industry association, the VeR, welcomed this proposal recognising its numerous advantages to companies and the German economy.
A VeR study on whether the Italian model can be used as a blueprint for Europe explains that although it doesn’t seem to have contributed significantly to reducing Italy’s VAT gap, the advantages of e-invoicing to companies and the Italian economy are convincing. It concludes that the Italian clearance system can serve as a model for the digitization of VAT in Germany, if not in Europe. In addition, the VeR experts offer their knowledge to develop such a CTC system in Germany.
Conclusion: Will Germany be the next EU country to introduce CTCs?
It seems that the idea of introducing a CTC system in Germany – following in the footsteps of fellow Member States like Italy, France and Poland – is gaining traction and might not be far from becoming reality if the coalition partners indeed manage to reach a coalition agreement to succeed the currently ruling party.
To find out more about what we believe the future holds, download VAT Trends: Toward Continuous Transaction Controls. Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter to keep up-to-date with regulatory news and updates.