Brussels, 23 November 2007
VAT: The European Commission suggests ways to improve administrative cooperation in the fight against VAT fraud
As a follow-up of the Communication for a European strategy to combat tax fraud (IP/06/697) and on request of the ECOFIN Council in June 2007, the European Commission has adopted a communication containing a number of key elements for improving Member States' capacity to tackle VAT fraud, in particular missing trader fraud (carousel fraud). The purpose of the Communication is to seek political guidance for future work from the ECOFIN Council meeting on 4 December 2007.
László Kovács, the Commissioner for taxation and customs, said: "I am particularly satisfied with the intensity of the discussions between tax authorities, businesses and the Commission which have been generated by the Communication presented in May last year on the need for an EU-approach in order to reduce tax fraud. As Commissioner for taxation, I believe that it is absolutely necessary to provide the tax authorities with more modern and efficient tools for a quick and accurate exchange of information in their efforts to combat fraud."
The Communication puts forward certain key elements in view of improving the current situation. The Council is invited to provide the necessary political guidance for future work on them:
More far reaching measures which consist in either:
Since then, each Council presidency has put the topic on the agenda of an ECOFIN Council. At the June 2007 ECOFIN Council meeting, the Ministers of finance requested the Commission to carry out substantial work on all the 3 possible ways forward and to report by the end of 2007 on the state of play of the discussions.
The present Communication only concerns the conventional measures.
As regards, the more far reaching measures, the substantial degree of
analysis required and the dependency on external inputs (external studies,
inputs from business and Member States administrations), entails that the
Commission will only be in a position to report on these measures at the
beginning of next year.