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Same VAT return in all EU-countries

On 23 October 2013 the European Commission proposed a new standard VAT return for all EU-countries. The goal of the proposed standard VAT return is to lower the bureaucracy, to make tax administrations more efficient and to make tax compliance easier for VAT taxable persons.

The new standard VAT return will consist of 5 boxes that are compulsory in all EU-countries, and 21 boxes that are the same but optional for each EU-country. Also the standard VAT return will be available in each language as applicable in the EU. So less boxes have to be filled (compared with the current situation, in some countries up to 100 boxes) and taxable persons can understand every box in every EU-country.

Furthermore the periodicity of the VAT returns, the filing deadlines, the procedures for filing corrections and electronically filing of the VAT returns will be the same for every EU-country. All in all the new standard VAT is a major improvement for VAT taxable persons who file VAT returns in more than one EU-country. A first step forward towards standardisation of the EU VAT compliance. As the EU countries still have an option to add an additional 21 boxes there will still be differences. These differences should be easy to understand if implemented in the same way.

The intention is that the new standard VAT return can be used for the reporting periods as from 1 January 2017. However, first the European Parliament has to be consulted and next the European Commission’s proposal has to be adopted by the EU-countries in the council.

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