The proposal foresees a uniform set of requirements for businesses when filing their VAT returns, regardless of the Member State in which they do it. The standard VAT return – which will replace national VAT returns – will ensure that businesses are asked for the same basic information, within the same deadlines, across the EU.
The declaration will have only 5 compulsory boxes for taxpayers to fill in. Member States are given leeway to request a number of additional standardised elements, up to a maximum of 26 information boxes. This is a vast improvement on the current situation, whereby some Member States require up to 100 information boxes to be completed.
Businesses will file the standard VAT return on a monthly basis, while micro-enterprises will only be obliged to do it on a quarterly basis. The obligation to submit a recapitulative yearly VAT return, which some Member States currently demand, would be abolished. The proposal also encourages electronic filing, as the standard VAT return will be allowed to be submitted electronically throughout the Union.
Given that simpler procedures are easier to comply with and easier to enforce, today's proposal should also help to improve VAT compliance and increase public revenues. VAT accounts for around 21% of Member States revenues, and yet around GBP 164 billion (Euro 193 billion) went uncollected in 2011 (see IP/13/844).