Involvement of intermediaries in collection of European VAT
Type Habilitation Project
- Austrian National Bank
Duration July 1, 2022 - Jan. 30, 2023
- Institute for Austrian and International Tax Law IN (Details)
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- Kallay Cicin-Sain, Nevia (Details) Project Head
This project was awarded the OeNB Dr. Maria Schaumayer Grant for 2022
Wider research context
VAT is one of most important sources of revenue in EU, making its proper collection a top priority. EU VAT, a broad-based tax on final consumption, is an indirect tax, meaning that it taxes consumption indirectly, by collecting VAT from vendors, rather than directly from consumers. This traditional VAT collection model is thus called the vendor collection model. It has been praised for its inherent resistance to fraud, owing to an integrated mechanism of checks and balances. However, it still heavily relies on the possibility to enforce
the VAT obligations on the vendor.
Nowadays the staggering rise of e-commerce is threatening proper VAT collection. The possibility of online distance selling exacerbated the relocation of vendors into third countries, making control over proper VAT collection extremely difficult and prone to fraud. Indeed, the current model cannot cope with the challenges posed by the digital era, since it has been designed in and for another era. Therefore, a new legislative tendency has emerged consisting in shifting the VAT collection burden from the vendors onto third persons, commonly denominated as intermediaries. These intermediaries, such as digital platforms, express couriers or postal operators are now faced with the obligations to appropriately assess and collect VAT on transactions in which they participate only in a peripheral way.
The aim of the present project is to perform a fundamental analysis, followed by a critical assessment of the switch to the new intermediary collection model of VAT in the EU. The work strives to close an existing
academic gap, by exploring the foundations for third party involvement in this alternative VAT collection model, as well as its scope and limits based on the identified principles.