The European Commission has launched two important initiatives respectively on VAT and E-Invoicing.
On VAT the Commission has published a green paper aiming at a public consultation with stakeholders. The main questions:
- What would be the most suitable VAT arrangements for intra-EU supplies? Is taxation in the Member State of origin still a relevant and achievable objective?
- Which of the current VAT exemptions should no longer be kept? Should VAT be applied to passenger transport irrespective of the means of transport used?
- Should the current exemption scheme for small businesses be reviewed and what should be the main elements of that reassessment?
- What changes should be introduced to improve the neutrality and fairness of the rules on deduction of input VAT?
- What are the main problems with the current VAT rules for international services, in terms of competition and tax neutrality or other factors?
- Which, if any, provisions of EU VAT law should be laid down in a Council regulation instead of a directive? Might guidance on new EU VAT legislation be useful even if it is not legally binding on the Member States?
- Do the current rates structure creates major obstacles for the smooth functioning of the single market (distortion of competition), unequal treatment of comparable products, or leads to major compliance costs for businesses?
The Commission communication “Reaping the benefits of electronic invoicing for Europe” notes that the existing rules that govern e-invoicing in Europe are still fragmented along national lines and most of the potential of e-invoicing is still untapped. The Commission wants to see e-invoicing become the predominant method of invoicing by 2020 in Europe and sets the following priorities:
- to ensure legal certainty and a clear technical environment for e-invoices to facilitate mass adoption;
- to encourage and promote the development of open and interoperable e-invoicing solutions based on a common standard, paying particular attention to the needs of SMEs;
- to support the uptake of e-invoicing by setting up organisational structures, such as national e-Invoicing fora and a European Multi-Stakeholder Forum.