Taxation and Customs Union


Click on a country to see the national VAT gaps in 2015

What is the VAT Gap?

Member States in the European Union are losing billions of euros in value-added tax (VAT) revenues because of tax fraud and inadequate tax collection systems. The VAT Gap, which is the difference between expected VAT revenues and VAT actually collected, provides an estimate of revenue loss due to tax fraud, tax evasion and tax avoidance, but also due to bankruptcies, financial insolvencies or miscalculations.

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 What are the main findings of the 2017 Report on the VAT Gap?

Based on the VAT collection figures available, the total amount of VAT lost across the EU-27 in 2015 is estimated at EUR 151.5 billion. This represents a loss of 12% of the total expected VAT revenue.

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During 2015, the overall VAT Total Tax Liability (VTTL) for the EU Member States grew by about 4.2%, while collected VAT revenues rose by 5.8%. As a result, the overall VAT Gap in the EU Member States saw a decrease in absolute values of about EUR 8.7 billion, down to EUR 151.5 billion. As a percentage, the overall VAT Gap decreased by 2.1% to 12.7%.

In 2015, Member States’ estimated VAT Gaps ranged from -1.4% in Sweden, to 37.18% in Romania.

Overall, the VAT Gap decreased in the majority of Member States, with the largest improvements noted in Malta, Romania and Spain and increased in only 7 – namely, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Greece, Luxembourg, Finland, and the UK.

 What causes such differences in the VAT Gap between the Member States?

The variations of VAT Gap estimations between the Member States reflect the existing differences in Member States in terms of tax compliance, fraud, avoidance, bankruptcies, insolvencies and tax administration. It offers an indication about the performance of national tax administrations, but should not be looked at in an isolated way.

Other circumstances could have an impact on the size of the VAT Gap such as economic developments.