VAT in the public sector and exemptions in the public interest

VAT in the public sector and exemptions in the public interest
  • Start date : 17/04/2013 00:00:00
  • End date : 19/04/2013 23:59:59
  • Where : Venezia Mestre, Italy

Events/Conf/Fairs, Economy, finance, tax and competition


Examine the shortcomings of the current VAT rules for the public sector and examine possible options for future reforms, with the aim to ensure in the long term a consistent implementation of the Union legislation in the Member States.



The Green Paper on the future of VAT (COM(2010)695 final) refers to the possible need to review the VAT treatment of the public sector (including the special VAT rules for public bodies pursuant to Article 13 of the VAT Directive and the tax exemptions in the public interest pursuant to Article 132 of the VAT Directive) as a long-standing issue within the EU. Many shortcomings of the current rules have been identified:

-  lack of neutrality (in particular: distortions of competition on the output and input-side),

 - lack of harmonisation and

-  complexity.

The Commission initiated the study "VAT in the public sector and exemptions in the public interest" which was carried out by Copenhagen Economics and KPMG in 2011, to analyse the impact of the current VAT rules applicable to the public sector, to identify options for alternative rules and to assess their impact. The aim was to reduce VAT distortions and achieve a level playing field for operators.

Considering (1) the public consultation on the Green Paper from 2010, according to which many stakeholders pointed to the shortcomings of the present rules and expressed their view that they would strongly welcome a review of these rules, and (2) the discussions with Member States in the Group on the future of VAT, the Commission committed itself in its December 2011 Communication (COM(2011)851 final) to promoting a progressive extension of the scope of VAT.

Against this background, Copenhagen Economics was asked to carry out additional work in relation to its 2011 study; the "complementary study" is now finalised and is published on the Commission's website (

The seminar will also follow up on the discussions which will take place early 2013 in the Group on the future of VAT and in the VAT Expert Group on this very same subject.