The VAT Committee was set up under Article 398 of the VAT Directive to promote the uniform application of the provisions of the VAT Directive. Because it is an advisory committee only and has not been attributed any legislative powers, the VAT Committee cannot take legally binding decisions. It can however give some guidance on the application of the Directive.
Following the commitment to ensure the transparency of the activities carried out by expert groups and similar entities given by the Commission to the European Parliament, all documents (agendas, working papers and reports of meetings) relating to the activities of the VAT Committee will henceforth be published unless their disclosure undermines the protection of a public or private interest as defined in Article 4 of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 on public access to documents of EU institutions. See the list of documents available.
Some of the provisions of the VAT Directive require Member States to consult the VAT Committee before they make use in their national legislation of options provided to them by that Directive.
The latest list reflecting the consultations made by Member States is made available.
Not all optional provisions of the VAT Directive require prior consultation of the VAT Committee. Member States may instead have to notify the VAT Committee after national legislation has been put in place. See the list of notifications made.
The VAT Committee also examines questions concerning the application of EU VAT provisions raised by the Commission or a Member State. As a result of the discussion, the VAT Committee may agree guidelines on specific matters.
Please bear in mind that guidelines issued by the VAT Committee are merely views of an advisory committee. They do not constitute an official interpretation of EU law and do not necessarily have the agreement of the European Commission. They do not bind the European Commission or the Member States who are free not to follow them.
The latest list of guidelines agreed by the VAT Committee is made available. This list includes the text of all the guidelines issued since the VAT Committee was set up in 1977. An index of guidelines (in Excel) is also made available. It links the guidelines agreed with the relevant provisions of the VAT Directive and comments upon them.
Under Article 397 of the VAT Directive, the Council can by unanimity on a proposal by the Commission adopt measures necessary to implement the Directive. On that basis, some guidelines agreed by the VAT Committee have been transformed into binding implementing measures. These measures, which are directly applicable without transposition into national law, can be found in the VAT Implementing Regulation (Council Implementing Regulation (EU) No 282/2011).