Fabian Demicoli

Standard VAT return proposal a step in the right direction

GRTU welcomes
the Commission's proposal to create a standard VAT return which, according to
Commission's figures, has the potential to cut costs for European businesses by
€15bn per year.

Retailers, wholesalers and international traders are affected
by a high level of bureaucracy when complying with tax return obligations in
each Member State; it is even worse when you operate in multiple countries and
across borders. This proposal should lead to simplification results, and
therefore help traders. It should also make the lives of young online retailers
and wholesalers easier, who are willing to trade cross-border but are often at
a loss when confronted with the huge VAT administrative obstacles.

Therefore, this proposal for
harmonised standard VAT returns is a step in the right direction towards
cutting red-tape for businesses, easing tax compliance and making tax
administrations across Europe more efficient. Ideally, the EU should have one
single VAT return form. However, with different VAT systems among Member
States, this is currently an unrealistic prospect. VAT returns in all EU
languages, as stated in the proposal, will already reduce the administrative
burden on companies, especially SMEs, resulting in significant cost savings and
efficiency of resources.

Nonetheless, as the standard
VAT return will become mandatory, there is a risk of significant indirect costs
for companies. For example, they may have to adapt their IT infrastructure and
forms to comply with the new standards. Also, verifying the integrity of the
data through electronic signature should not cause additional administrative
burdens by having to cope with different systems and standards in different
Member States. GRTU expects Member States to make the VAT declarations simple and
easy to understand, especially for SMEs.

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