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EU Seeking To Standardise VAT Returns

25 October 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Author: Colm Kelpie
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Author: Colm Kelpie (Irish Independent)

THE European Commission has proposed a new standard VAT return, which it claims will cut costs for businesses by up to €15bn and slash red tape.

The Brussels-based body said the move also had the potential to reduce fraud across the European Union and cut the VAT gap.

The proposal sets out a uniform set of requirements for businesses when they are filing their VAT returns, regardless of the member state in which they do it.

"Given that the simpler procedures are easier to comply with and easier to enforce, today's proposal should also help to improve VAT compliance and increase public revenues," the commission said in a statement.

Every year, 150 million VAT returns are submitted by EU taxpayers to national tax administrations.

Currently, the information requested, the format of national forms and the reporting deadlines vary considerably from one country to the next.

The proposed new standard VAT will have only five compulsory boxes to fill in.

Countries are given leeway to request a number of additional standardised elements, up to a maximum of 26 information boxes.

"This is a vast improvement on the current situation, whereby some member states require up to 100 information boxes to be completed," the commission said.

Businesses will file the standard VAT return on a monthly basis, while micro-enterprises will only be obliged to do it on a quarterly basis.

The obligation to submit a so-called recapitulative yearly VAT return, which some countries currently demand, would be abolished.

The proposal also encourages electronic filing, as the standard VAT return will be allowed to be submitted electronically throughout the EU.


VAT accounts for around 21pc of member states' revenues, yet around €193bn went uncollected in 2011.

"By creating an easier system for both taxpayers and administrations to work with, the standard VAT return can improve tax compliance and reduce the VAT gap," the commission said.

It added: "As such, today's proposal could make an important contribution to fiscal consolidation across the EU by increasing income to the public purse."

The proposal will now be sent to the European Parliament for approval.

This article first appeared in


Section 240A of the Tax Administration Act, 2011 (as amended) requires that all tax practitioners register with a recognized controlling body before 1 July 2013. It is a criminal offense to not register with both a recognized controlling body and SARS.


The Act requires that a minimum academic and practical requirments be set to register with a controlling body. Click here for the minimum requirements of SAIT.

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