segunda-feira, maio 12, 2008

Tax fraud : reverse charge VAT back on the table

Will Ecofin ministers succeed, on 14 May, in concluding the debate regarding the launch of a pilot programme against VAT fraud? Under discussion for two years, the Slovenian EU Presidency has just lodged a new draft conclusion. To recall, and at Germany's request, the pilot programme is to be launched in Austria of a generalised reverse charge, whereby liability to pay VAT is shifted from the supplier to the recipient of the supply mechanism. At this stage, the majority of countries remain if not categorically opposed to then at least relatively reserved over this idea. As a result, due to the lack of a consensus, the conclusions could once against be postponed indefinitely.
There is another negative sign that the fight against tax fraud is moving forward wearily: the so-called conventional' measures currently under discussion are up in the air. The first, minimalist legislative proposal presented by the European Commission, on 17 March (see Europolitics 3471 and 3493), has already been the subject of reservations over the content from both the UK and Germany. But this will not prevent Taxation Commissioner Laszlo Kovacs from presenting the Commission's work schedule for the months to come to ministers. Kovacs will announce new proposals concerning: 1. reinforcing exoneration conditions for VAT (after import); 2. a proposal for a regulation on mutual assistance for recovery (to improve joint liability for payments); 3. reinforcing Directive 77/779 on mutual assistance (direct taxation); 4. reinforcing administrative cooperation (concerning access to data); 5. improving the VIES (automatic VAT information exchange) system concerning the validity of economic operators; and 6. a decision concerning billing rules for VAT. Finally, the commissioner is expected to mention the French project Eurofisc' (3506). A proposal for a regulation is planned for November in order to create "a minimal legal basis".

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