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Brussels, 18 September 2008

VAT: the Commission may prosecute Greece for failing to notify the transposition of two VAT Directives into national law

The European Commission has decided to send Greece two reasoned opinions, the second stage in the infringement procedure provided for in Article 226 of the EC Treaty, for failing to notify transposition measures on the one hand under Council Directive 2006/69/EC of 24 July 2006 relating to certain measures to simplify the procedure for charging value added tax and to assist in countering tax evasion or avoidance, and repealing certain Decisions granting derogations, and on the other hand under Council Directive 2006/112/EC of 28 November 2006 on the common system of value added tax.

The quest for better governance in the application of Community law requires Member States to comply strictly with the time limits for transposing Community directives. Member States not only have to transpose directives but must also notify the Commission of the measures they have adopted by entering the laws, regulations or administrative provisions in the Commission's ad hoc database. If, as in the case of some directives, a transposition measure is not necessary, the Member State concerned is nevertheless obliged to notify the Commission of this.

Since Greece had failed to inform the Commission as required of the steps it had taken to comply with Directives 2006/69/EC and 2006/112/EC, by letters dated 29 January 2008 and 18 March 2008 respectively the Commission gave Greece notice to submit its comments on the matter within two months. Not having received any reply to these two letters, the Commission concludes that Greece has not transposed these two Directives.

Directive 2006/69/EC brings in more effective and transparent rules allowing Member States to adopt antifraud measures more flexibly than before while at the same time repealing certain derogations granted to individual Member States. The Directive entered into force on 31 December 2007.

Directive 2006/112/EC is a recasting of Directive 77/388/EEC, once commonly referred to as the "Sixth VAT Directive", to rationalise into a single statutory instrument the various amendments made to that Directive over time. This Directive entered into force on 1 January 2008.

If no response is received from Greece within the next two months, the Commission may decide to refer these two cases to the Court of Justice.

The files have the reference numbers 2008/0073 and 2008/0277.

For press releases on infringement cases in the taxation or customs field see:

For the latest general information on infringement measures against Member States see:

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