On 8 December 2022 the EU Commission published its proposals on VAT in the Digital Age (ViDA). This proposal also includes additions which aim to reduce foreign VAT compliance burden for internationally active companies. The respective changes are discussed in this article.
Following our previous blogs on the sections of the VAT in the Digital Age (ViDA) proposals covering the Digital Reporting Requirements (‘DRRs’) and the Platform Economy, in this blog we are focusing on the last pillar of the proposals, i.e. the “Single VAT registration”.
Background: why are changes required?
Businesses carrying out transactions taxed in multiple EU Member States historically faced considerable VAT compliance burdens and costs, which constitute(d) a barrier within the European single market.
The VAT e-commerce package that entered into force on 1 July 2021 brought new VAT legislation which significantly reduced the overall VAT compliance burden for e-commerce businesses. Instead of having VAT registrations in each EU Member State of their customer base, such rules allow a central registration and reporting of VAT liabilities as follows:
- via the One-Stop-Shop scheme (OSS) for supplies to consumers within the EU and/or
- via the Import One-Stop-Shop scheme (IOSS) for the importation of consumer goods with a parcel value not exceeding EUR 150.
The implementation of the OSS and IOSS has proved to be a great success. However, as the scope of its application is limited, many businesses remained subject to burdensome VAT requirements in multiple EU Member States.
What does the proposal entail?
The aim of the proposal is to reduce the number of situations in which businesses are obliged to register in an EU Member State where they are not established. In summary, such will be achieved by:
- Expanding the existing (I)OSS schemes
- Introducing a new OSS scheme for transfers of own goods between EU Member States
- Expanding the scope of mandatory reverse charge mechanisms
- Expanding the scope of the deemed supplier rule for platform operators
Expanding the existing (I)OSS schemes
On the one hand, the existing Union OSS scheme will be expanded to also cover:
- supplies of goods with installation or assembly;
- supply of goods on board of ships, aircrafts or trains;
- supply of gas, electricity, heating and cooling; and
- domestic supplies of goods
insofar as these are supplied to non-taxable persons (or to taxable persons or non-taxable legal persons whose intra-Community acquisitions of goods are not subject to VAT). In addition, the scheme is extended for certain sales of margin scheme goods.
On the other hand, the scope of the non-Union OSS scheme will be expanded to cover supplies of services from non-EU business to all non-taxable persons.
Furthermore, also making amendments to (I)OSS returns will be eased as they can now be made in the same period (via a corrective return) insofar as the amendments take place before the filing deadline of such return.
However as currently the case, the OSS schemes will still not allow businesses to recover input VAT, for which the VAT refund scheme needs to be followed.