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EuroCommerce positions on reduced VAT rates and treatment of vouchers

EuroCommerce has adopted two position papers on VAT: on reduced rates and the treatment of vouchers. We recognise the need for a EU-wide VAT system with harmonised rules, one VAT administration and one VAT return. However, as there are currently no signs of harmonisation, EuroCommerce suggests maintaining Member States’ autonomy to apply reduced rates.

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VAT Rates in the EU

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The economy has been transformed – taxation needs to catch up

Commenting on the publication today of the Commission communication on Business Taxation for the 21st Century, EuroCommerce Director General Christian Verschueren said:

“More than quarter of a century after the Single Market was meant to have been completed, businesses still have to confront different tax regimes across the EU. These act as a majorcost barrier to operating cross-border and making the single market a reality. The digital transformation of our ecosystem, and of the economy as a whole needs a tax system which matches it. That is why we want to see taxes being fair and fairly distributed, and also properly reflecting the international and digitalised market in which business operates. Hence we support EU tax policy being harmonised more internally and aligned internationally with the work of the OECD and G20 to produce a tax system which truly reflects these changes”

Fiscal policy is a key determinant of the business climate in which companies operate. Companies need a stable and predictable fiscal regime, and we will be looking to the legislative proposals foreseen in the communication ensure tax fairness, simplicity and enforceability of tax rules reflecting the reality of the market in the 21st century.

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OECD negotiators must now agree on how to modernise international taxation

Ahead of the talks in the OECD this week in Paris, EuroCommerce Director General Christian Verschueren pressed negotiators to make concrete progress on modernising international taxation systems:

“Retailers and wholesalers, both online and offline, support the OECD discussions on modernising corporate tax systems and make them appropriate to the digitalised global economy. It is essential that negotiators now find common ground on taking forward the negotiations to find a multinational solution and avoid a growing trend towards fragmented national approaches.”

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Greener, Fairer and Simpler VAT and Excise duties - and zero VAT and customs duties for protective equipment during COVID-19 crisis

Speaking today on the publication of the EuroCommerce paper on VAT and excise duties, EuroCommerce Director-General commented:

 “Twenty-seven years after the Single Market was meant to have been completed, very different VAT rules in Member States remain some of the most significant barriers for companies to trade cross-border. We acknowledge the improvements which have been made, such as the VAT One-Stop-Shop and the abolition of the VAT threshold on imports from third countries, which we expect to see implemented thoroughly next January. But further progress is both possible and urgently needed in making VAT and excise duties work for the economy. We need to make taxation greener, fairer and simpler, and transform customs procedures to help lift Europe out of the economic recession after the COVID-19 crisis.”

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