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Parliamentary questions
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11 March 2010
by Simon Busuttil (PPE)
to the Commission

 Subject: Hijacking of VAT numbers
 Answer in writing 

A retailers’ and traders’ union in Malta has reported cross-border cases of VAT fraud whereby businessmen are fraudulently buying goods from abroad (from other Member States?) under someone else’s VAT number in order to evade tax.

The Maltese Finance Ministry has also reported that the VAT Department is investigating nine cases of VAT number hijacking, as this practice is referred to, whilst another case was passed on to the police.

Investigations of such cases are known to be not so straightforward and involve the cooperation of tax authorities from different Member States.

In the meantime this practice is leading to a number of traders being issued with VAT assessments for goods they never imported and to a situation where illegal traders are undercutting legitimate businesses.

Is the Commission aware of this fraudulent practice?

What measures, including through the Commission’s Anti-Tax Fraud Strategy (ATFS) expert group and OLAF, does the Commission intend to take to counter this problem?

 OJ C 138 E, 07/05/2011
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