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Brussels, 27 November 2008

VAT: the European Commission requests Italy to notify adoption of national provisions transposing two Directives in the VAT field

The European Commission has decided to send Italy 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 of two Directives: Council Directive 2006/69/EC aiming at countering VAT fraud and Council Directive 2006/112/ EC, the VAT Directive, recasting the Sixth VAT Directive 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 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 Italy failed to inform the Commission of the steps it had taken to comply with Directives 2006/69/EC and 2006/112/EC despite letters of formal notice dated 29 January 2008 and respectively of 18 March 2008 the Commission concludes that Italy doesn't comply with its obligation of implementation.

Directive 2006/69/EC of 24 July 2006 brings in more effective and transparent rules which allow Member States to adopt antifraud measures more flexibly than before, while at the same time repealing certain derogations granted to individual Member States. National laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with this Directive should have been brought into force from 1 January 2008 at the latest.

Directive 2006/112/EC of 28 November 2006 is a recasting of Directive 77/388/EC, 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. The time limit for the transposition was fixed on 1 January 2008.

The Commission may initiate proceedings before the European Court of Justice if Italy fails to notify the requested measures within two months of receiving the reasoned opinion.

The files have the reference numbers 2008/0145 (Directive 2006/69/EC) and 2008/0312 (Directive 2006/112/EC).

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