European Economic and Social Commission Opinion on VAT Modernization

August 14, 2017 Charles Riordan

In 2016, the European Commission released several proposals for new Directives amending Council Directive 2006/112/EC ("the EU VAT Directive"). The Commission’s first proposal would to introduce an intra-EU VAT threshold and simplified compliance obligations for the Mini-One-Stop Ship (MOSS) scheme for e-services, with the aim of removing VAT barriers to online businesses, particularly start-ups and small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs). The Commission has also proposed to extend the MOSS scheme to sales of online goods, and to services other than e-services. Finally, the Commission has proposed giving Member States the authority to apply the same VAT rates to e-publications as to physical publications.

The European Economic and Social Commission (EESC) published its opinion on these proposals on July 12, 2017.  The EESC applauded the Commission's goals of simplifying and extending the MOSS scheme, but remained mindful that fledgling SMEs may quickly outgrow the thresholds set. On e-publications, the EESC noted that the Commission's proposal would reduce distortion of competition between physical and electronic publications, but expressed concern that applying reduce rates to e-publications could ultimately reduce the VAT base. The proposed changes from the European Commission remain open to further discussion.

About the Author

Charles Riordan is a member of the Tax Research team at Sovos Compliance specializing in international taxation, with a focus on Value Added Tax systems in the European Union. Charles received his J.D. from Boston College Law School in 2013 and is an active member of the Massachusetts Bar.

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