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European Commission - Press release

VAT: European Commission welcomes adoption of new tools to combat fraud in the EU

Brussels, 22 June 2018

The Commission has welcomed the general approach* reached by EU Member States today on new tools to close loopholes in the EU's Value Added Tax (VAT) system. These inconsistencies can lead to large-scale VAT fraud causing losses of €50 billion for national budgets of EU Member States each year.

Proposed by the Commission in November 2017, the new measures aim to build trust between Member States so that they can exchange more information and boost cooperation between national tax authorities and law enforcement authorities. Once in force, Member States will be able to exchange more relevant information and to cooperate more closely in the fight against criminal organisations, including terrorists.

Following the agreement, Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, said: “The new rules agreed today confirm the willingness of Member States to tackle the problem of VAT fraud together. The EU is making real progress on VAT reform, towards a system that is fit for purpose and that stops criminals in their path. Taken together, the Commission's package of VAT proposals, of which these rules are part, will have a profound impact on VAT fraud and a positive effect on the public finances and budgets of EU countries."

The new rules will strengthen cooperation between Member States, enabling them to tackle VAT fraud more quickly and more efficiently, including on fraud that takes place online. More use will be made of IT systems which should replace the manual processing of data. VAT information and intelligence on organised gangs involved in the most serious cases of VAT fraud will now be shared systematically with EU enforcement bodies. Finally, improved investigative coordination between tax administrations and law enforcement authorities at national and EU level will ensure that this fast-moving criminal activity is tracked and tackled more quickly and more effectively. The new measures will give a major boost to our ability to track and clamp down on fraudsters and criminals who steal tax revenues for their own gain.

Next Steps

The new cooperation rules will be published in the EU's Official Journal and enter into force 20 days later. As the implementation of the automated access to the information collated by the customs authorities and to vehicle registration data will require new technological developments, their application will be deferred until 1 January 2020.


The proposed measures follow up on the Commission's proposals for a deep reform of the EU VAT system presented in October 2017, and the VAT Action Plan towards a single EU VAT area presented in April 2016.

The common Value Added Tax (VAT) system plays an important role in Europe's Single Market. VAT is a major and growing source of revenue in the EU, raising over €1 trillion in 2015, which corresponds to 7% of EU GDP. One of the EU's own resources is also based on VAT.

For More Information

Q&A on the new tools to combat VAT fraud

Action Plan on VAT – Towards a single EU VAT area

Press release on reform of EU VAT rules

Q&A on reform of EU VAT rules

Factsheet on reform of EU VAT rules


* Updated on 22/06/2018 at 15:30


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