News from the EU - September 2019

European Commission

Mrs Von Der Leyen announces her new cabinet of Commissioners with an ambitious tax agenda

The new Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen (VDL) has announced the three main priorities for the next five years will be sustainability, digitalisation and the economy.

The former Italian Prime Minister, Paolo Gentiloni, was appointed as the Commissioner for taxation (subject to confirmation by the Parliament, in principle by the end of next month (23rd), thus succeeding the incumbent Pierre Moscovici. VDL announced the following priorities for Gentiloni’s mandate as the tax Commissioner:

  • Anti-avoidance with emphasis on VAT and administrative cooperation
  • Abandoning unanimity on tax decision making and moving to qualified majority voting (QMV)


Commission study on VAT Gap finds EU lost EUR 137 billion VAT revenue in 2017

The European Commission has published latest VAT Gap figures. They show that in 2017, EU countries lost EUR 137 billion in VAT revenues.

The largest VAT gaps were in Romania (36%), Greece (34%) and Lithuania (25%). The smallest gaps of just 1% of VAT revenues were to be found in Sweden, Luxembourg and Cyprus.

In absolute terms, the highest VAT gap was in Italy, with around EUR 33,5 billion.


New update of EU VAT Cross-Border Rulings list – 15 July 2019



European Parliament

JURI and ECON hearings with Finnish Presidency - Presidency outlines its priorities for tax

At the ECON hearing, the Finnish minister of finance explained to the MEPs which tax files the Presidency would aim to advance.

According to the minister, the Presidency will:

  • Continue work on OECD negotiations for international tax reform
  • Seek progress on VAT definitive regime, and try to take out e-commerce elements from the VAT definitive regime proposal
  • Progress on other VAT files like data collection from payment services providers, VAT for SMEs and VAT for defence industry
  • Advance C(C)CTB
  • Facilitate discussions on the financial transaction tax (FTT)
  • Launch the debate on energy taxation.


CJEU – Rulings

C‑71/18: VAT exemption for supply of buildings intended for demolition



The Guardian Opinion: Is it time to switch income tax with a sales tax?


European Commission publishes statistics on VAT Mini One Stop Shop (MOSS)



European Court of Auditors

New report from EU Auditors highlights problems in VAT e-commerce collection

E-commerce: many of the challenges of collecting VAT and customs duties remain to be resolved



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News from the Board

IVA Meeting with the Portuguese Tax Authorities

The International VAT Association (IVA), represented by its President, Stephen Dale, and Board Member, Fátima Gouveia, met with the representatives of the Portuguese Secretary of State for Tax Affairs and of the Portuguese VAT Authority on the 9th of July 2019, in Lisbon. The IVA thanked the authorities for meeting with us at short notice.

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News from IVA members

Quick Fixes 2020 – Update – Germany and EU

Some concerns currently exist as to the practical application of the Quick Fixes. However, it may be several weeks until the expected administrative circular is published by the Federal Ministry of Finance. The Explanatory Notes published on 20.12.2019, now also...

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News from EC

News from the EU February 2020

European Commission

European Commission publishes Work Plan 2020

On 29 January, the European Commission published its work programme for 2020, indicating the new policy proposals and Communications to be expected in 2020. For tax, two items to note:

  • non-legislative communication on business taxation for the 21st century, focusing on the tax aspects of the Single Market, in Q1 2020
  • a legislative proposal and action plan on the fight against tax evasion and to make taxation “simple and easy”, also in Q1 2020

Reportedly, both are to be expected on 25 March but this is yet to be confirmed.

The work programme also specifies that definitive VAT, C(C)CTB and public CBCR continue to be the Commission’s priorities for the year.

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Commission plans to evaluate VAT rules for travel agents

The European Commission intends to evaluate the effectiveness of the current special VAT rules for travel agents; including the so-called margin scheme. A public consultation will be launched on the topic in March. Should the evaluation process demonstrate the need for reform, the Commission may propose amendments to existing rules.

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EU could use carbon border tax against Brexit Britain, warns MEP

The Chair of the European Parliament’s ENVI Committee, Pascal Canfin (RE/France) has suggested that the EU could use the planned carbon border tax (CBT) against the UK after Brexit. He argues that deploying the CBT against the UK might be necessary if the country’s environmental standards do not match those of the EU’s, thus risking leaving European businesses at an unfair disadvantage.

The European Commission is currently conducting a feasibility study on the CBT, the results and conclusions of which should not be expected before end-2020 at earliest.


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MEP Questions & Answers

Commission confirms a donation given free of charge to a charitable organisation is outside the scope of VAT

  • question by MEP Marco Zanni (NI/Italy)
  • reply by Commissioner Gentiloni


US threatens retaliation against EU over carbon tax

As things are starting to calm down between France and the US in their clash over the French digital tax, a new trade war and tax front may be opening.

The Trump administration has warned that a prospective EU carbon border tax (CBT) could be met by trade sanctions by the US. CBT’s purpose is to protect European businesses from competition from third countries whose environmental standards do not meet the EU’s.

The European Commission is expected to publish further details on its thinking and approach to CBT towards the end of this year.


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Taxamo publishes overview of digital indirect tax regimes from across the world


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Disclaimer:  The information contained in the present page is general and does not constitute legal advice. Before taking any decision or action on the above information you should take the appropriate professional advice.