European Union: Overhaul of VAT System Discussed

Two major announcements on a modernized system of VAT have been made in the past month, as part of an ongoing discussion among European Union leaders.

First, the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union stated its intention to launch negotiations on a definitive cross-border system of VAT, based on the principle of taxation in the Member State of consumption.

Secondly, Pierre Moscovici, the European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, announced that he will present an overhaul of the VAT system in autumn of 2017. The Commissioner stressed that the current “temporary” VAT system has been in place for 20 years, and that reforming the system would promote tax fairness. The three elements of the Commissioner’s overhaul are:

  1. Simplifying VAT obligations for companies
  2. Giving Member States greater flexibility in the use of reduced VAT rates
  3. Combating cross-border VAT fraud

These objectives are aligned with the European Commission’s VAT Action Plan, adopted in April of 2016.


Charles Riordan

Charles Riordan is a member of the Tax Research team at Sovos Compliance specializing in international taxation, with a focus on Value Added Tax systems in the European Union. Charles received his J.D. from Boston College Law School in 2013 and is an active member of the Massachusetts Bar.
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