Setting VAT rates

21-09-2017

Council Directive 2006/112/EC lays down rules applicable to the common system of value added tax (VAT). Among other issues, the Council Directive sets a framework for VAT rates. The present VAT system is based on 'the origin principle', which requires that a VAT rate applicable to transaction is determined by the Member State in which the seller is located. Various studies and reports show that presently several challenges are linked to the implementation of this directive. These challenges include a gradual move from the origin principle to the destination principle, a need to fight VAT fraud, uncertainty for companies involved in cross-border trading, different VAT rates applied in Member States, obsolete rules, and the restrictive list of cases where reduced VAT can be applied, that is included in Annex III of the directive. The European Parliament has called on the European Commission to update Council Directive 2006/112/EC to respond to these challenges. Similarly, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee have recommended that this legislation be updated. Furthermore, representatives of various stakeholder groups have voiced requests regarding this piece of legislation. Finally, the European Commission has expressed a willingness to take a more effective and proportionate approach to VAT rates. It is expected that the European Commission will submit this proposal in the third quarter of 2017.

Council Directive 2006/112/EC lays down rules applicable to the common system of value added tax (VAT). Among other issues, the Council Directive sets a framework for VAT rates. The present VAT system is based on 'the origin principle', which requires that a VAT rate applicable to transaction is determined by the Member State in which the seller is located. Various studies and reports show that presently several challenges are linked to the implementation of this directive. These challenges include a gradual move from the origin principle to the destination principle, a need to fight VAT fraud, uncertainty for companies involved in cross-border trading, different VAT rates applied in Member States, obsolete rules, and the restrictive list of cases where reduced VAT can be applied, that is included in Annex III of the directive. The European Parliament has called on the European Commission to update Council Directive 2006/112/EC to respond to these challenges. Similarly, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee have recommended that this legislation be updated. Furthermore, representatives of various stakeholder groups have voiced requests regarding this piece of legislation. Finally, the European Commission has expressed a willingness to take a more effective and proportionate approach to VAT rates. It is expected that the European Commission will submit this proposal in the third quarter of 2017.