Taxation and Customs Union

eLearning modules on VAT


Introduction Chargeable event & taxable amount
Territory Rates
Taxable person Exemptions
Transactions Right to deduct
Place of taxable transactions Refund
Digital services & mini one stop shop Obligations


The eLearning modules on value added tax (VAT) aim at presenting the fundamental elements of the VAT Directive. They have an EU-wide perspective and do not explain national variations or derogations. Having completed all individual eLearning modules on VAT the learner should have a good understanding of the key principles of the EU VAT directive, to be incorporated into national legislation.


What is the VAT Directive?
EU Directive 2006/112/EC has been the essential piece of EU VAT legislation since 1 January 2007. That 'VAT Directive' is effectively a recast of the 1977 VAT Directive as amended over the years. It provides an overview of EU VAT legislation currently in force and forms the basis for national VAT legislation.


Relevant legislation
This eLearning course is based on EU VAT Legislation as it stands on 01.01.2015 (valid for the EU VAT Directive, the EU VAT Refund Directive and the EU VAT Implementing Regulation). Further information is provided on the Existing EU legal framework page of our VAT web section.


Who should study these courses?
The eLearning courses have been developed by the European Commission to help tax officials in EU countries and others with a particular interest in VAT get a good basic knowledge of the VAT directive. They are freely available for download.


Available languages:
The twelve eLearning modules on VAT are now available in 15 languages.

Fourteen languages have been added to the initial English version: Bulgarian, Dutch, German, Greek, Italian, Hungarian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Romanian, Slovenian, Spanish and Swedish as well as the language of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. 


How were the courses developed?
The courses were developed under the Fiscalis 2020 Programme. The content was created by a project team comprised of national VAT experts and officials working at the Taxation and Customs Union Directorate General of the European Commission.
The courses contain topics considered to be of common interest across the EU.


How to start and use one of these eLearning courses?

  • Save the zip-file to your hard disk
  • Extract the zip-file to a folder of your choice
  • Read the 'eLearning courseQuick Start Guide' - document in that folder. The document will provide you with all the necessary technical information
  • Install the course to your system as specified in the document or ask your system administrator to do so.

Using the course does not require a high level of information technology skills from the learners.


List of eLearning modules
VAT eLearning programme consists of 12 individual courses:


VAT Introduction

Having studied the VAT Introduction course, you will:

  • Be able to explain the key principles of the VAT Directive.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the VAT Directive which is to be implemented into national legislation.
  • Improve your knowledge of the background of your national legislation.

Estimated duration: 50 minutes.

VAT Territory

The VAT Territory course covers the question: ‘Does the transaction take place within the territory of the EU?’

Having studied this eLearning course, you will:

  • Know what the VAT Territory is, and be able to distinguish between what is and what is not part of the VAT Territory
  • Be able to understand the concept of customs territory
  • Understand the difference between the customs territory and the VAT Territory
  • Use the VAT directive to determine the exact territorial scope.

Estimated duration: 30 minutes.

VAT Taxable person

The VAT Taxable person course covers the question: ‘Who are the persons involved in the transaction?’
Having studied this eLearning course, you will be able to:

  • Identify who qualifies as a taxable person.
  • Differentiate the taxable person, the person liable for payment and the final consumer.
  • Define the variety of persons who can become liable for payment.
  • Understand what reverse charge is and when it is used.

Estimated duration: 30 minutes.

VAT Transactions

The VAT Transactions course covers the question: ‘Which transactions are subject to VAT?’
Having studied this eLearning course, you will:

  • Be able to define the terms supply of goods, intra-Community acquisition of goods, supply of services and importation of goods.
  • Know that the transfer of a going concern is not always treated as a transaction.
  • Understand the concept of deemed supplies.

Estimated duration: 40 minutes.

VAT Place of taxable transactions

The VAT Place of taxable transactions course covers the question: ‘Where is the transaction taxed?’
Having studied this course, you will be able to:

  • Describe the different rules that govern the place of supply of goods.
  • Explain the two basic rules and other specific rules governing the place of supply of services.
  • Identify the particular rule that governs the place of an intra-Community acquisition of goods and a variation to the rule.
  • Identify the general rule that governs the place of importation of goods.

Estimated duration: 40 minutes.

VAT Digital services & MOSS


The VAT Digital Services and MOSS course covers the question: ‘What are the rules for the place of supply of digital services introduced in January 2015 and what about the Mini One-Stop Shop (MOSS)?’

Having studied this course, you will be able to:

  • Identify which supplies are classed as digital services.
  • Clarify the place of taxation of digital services supplied to customers inside and outside the EU.
  • Describe the purpose of the Mini One-Stop Shop (MOSS).
  • Set out the criteria for registration to MOSS.
  • Point out the conditions for exclusion or deregistration from MOSS.
  • Explain how the registration location for MOSS is determined.
  • Show how VAT returns and payments are handled within MOSS.
  • Describe how audits are conducted within MOSS.

Estimated duration: 65 minutes.

VAT Chargeable event & Taxable amount


VAT Chargeable event and Taxable amount: the course covers the questions: ‘When does the chargeable event take place and VAT become chargeable?’ and ‘On what is VAT calculated?’

Having studied this course, you will be able to:

  • Define the terms chargeable event and taxable amount.
  • Know when the chargeable event occurs and VAT becomes chargeable.
  • Explain the need to establish what the taxable amount of a transaction is.
  • Relate these concepts to the different transactions.
  • Recognise acceptable adjustments to the taxable amount.
  • Describe how the tax due is a result of applying the rate to the taxable amount expressed in monetary terms.

Estimated duration: 40 minutes.

VAT Rates

The VAT Rates course covers the question: ‘Which percentage rate should be used?’

Having studied this course, you will be able to:

  • Outline the need for harmonisation through minimum taxation levels and option frames.
  • Identify the different types of rates and the conditions under which they apply.
  • Identify the reduced rates permitted and the limitations to their application.
  • In a non-harmonised market without fiscal frontiers, describe the time and space conditions for how to apply the rate.

Estimated duration: 25 minutes.

VAT Exemptions


The VAT Exemptions course covers the question: ‘Which transactions are exempt from VAT and what the conditions for exemptions to apply are?’

Having studied this course, you will be able to:

  • Understand what an exemption is.
  • State what an exemption may mean for the principle of tax neutrality in the supply chain.
  • Identify the position of the exemptions in the structure of the VAT Directive.
  • Describe the role of Member States concerning the options given to them in the VAT Directive.
  • Identify the different types of exemption, with particular regard to the right of deduction.

Estimated duration: 35 minutes.

VAT Right to deduct


The VAT Right to deduct course covers the question: ‘When does a transaction give the right to deduct VAT?’

Having studied this course, you will be able to:

  • Explain input tax and output tax.
  • Know the conditions for entitlement to deduct input VAT.
  • Explain why there is deductible and non-deductible input VAT and be able to distinguish between them.
  • Know the connection between exempt and taxed transactions, and the associated right to deduct input VAT.
  • Describe and explain other restrictions on the right of deduction.
  • Calculate the proportional deduction.
  • Know the necessity to adjust deductions made.
  • Know how to exercise the right of deduction through subtraction or refund.

Estimated duration: 35 minutes.

VAT Refund


The VAT Refund course covers the question: ‘What are the provisions and procedures for a VAT Refund?’

Having studied this course, you will be familiar with:

  • The new provisions for the VAT refund to non-established persons
  • The new procedures for applying for a VAT refund
  • The reasons why the new procedures have been implemented
  • What is expected from you in your professional role
  • Accessing the sources of information available at EU and national level

Who is concerned by the VAT Refund electronic procedure?

Since 1st January 2010, the procedure for reimbursement of VAT incurred by EU taxable persons in Member States where they are not established has been replaced by a fully electronic procedure, thereby ensuring a quicker refund to claimants.
The new procedure makes life easier for taxable persons and improves the functioning of the internal market. It also changes the way tax authorities and economic operators work and collaborate.

Estimated duration: 20 minutes.

VAT Obligations


The VAT Obligations course covers the question: ‘What are the obligations you need to observe when carrying out an economic activity?’

Having studied this course, you will:

  • Know the obligations that taxable persons and certain non-taxable persons need to respect:
    • Obligation to pay
    • Appointment of tax representative
    • Payment arrangements
    • Identification
    • Invoicing
    • Accounting
    • Returns
    • Recapitulative statements
  • Understand the importance of the Value added tax Information Exchange System in the Single Market (VIES).

Estimated duration: 20 minutes.