On November 7, 2017 the meeting of the European Union's Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) took place. The Council a.o. discussed proposals for improved VAT rules to help facilitate electronic commerce and online businesses.


Outcome of the Council meeting

“A compromise text proposed by the presidency received broad support from ministers, whilst one delegation was not yet able to lift its reservations. The presidency therefore indicated that the Council would revert to the matter in December 2017 with a view to reaching an agreement.


The proposals are aimed at facilitating the collection of VAT when consumers buy goods and services online. They are part of the EU's 'digital single market' strategy.


The new rules extend the existing EU-wide portal (mini 'one-stop shop') and establish a new portal for distance sales from third countries. VAT fraud for distance sales is estimated by the Commission at €5 billion per year.


The proposals are expected to reduce the costs of complying with VAT requirements for businessto-consumer transactions. Administrative cooperation would also be strengthened. The new rules require VAT to be paid in the member state of the consumer, ensuring a fairer distribution of tax revenues amongst member states.


Additionally, the texts would make online platforms liable for collecting VAT on the distance sales that they facilitate.


The Council requires unanimity to adopt the package. The European Parliament is expected to give its opinion soon.”



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