Study to Quantify and Analyse the VAT Gap in the EU Member States
64 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2015
Date Written: September 2015
Only in 2013 the EU Member States lost approximately €168 billion in VAT revenues due to non-compliance, according to a recent study conducted by the Center for Social and Economic Research (CASE) for the European Commission. The report: “Study to Quantify and Analyse the VAT Gap in the EU Member States” examines the reasons for and reality of the VAT underperformance across twenty six Member States* .
Compared to 2012, EU26 saw €2.8 billion increase in VAT-GAP in absolute numbers. Overall, 15 Member States decreased their VAT Gaps, with the largest improvements noted in Latvia, Malta, and Slovakia. However, at the same time 11 Member States saw an increase in the VAT Gap, with the largest deteriorations in Estonia and Italy.
Emphasizing the diversity of the EU’s tax administrations, the study estimated that the VAT non-compliance in 2013 ranged from 4% in Finland, the Netherlands, and Sweden, to as much as 41% in Romania.
“The overall underperformance was due to unfavorable economic environment, as the GDP of the European Union in 2013 was nearly stagnant.” – said Grzegorz Poniatowski, one of the report’s authors – “An increase in VAT gap in 2013 can also be explained by the increasing phenomenon of ‘missing trader frauds’ and carousel frauds”.
The report also provides new and expanded evidence on the Policy Gap for the EU-26. The Policy Gap is an indicator of the additional VAT revenue that a Member State could theoretically collect if it applied standard rate to all consumption of goods and services supplied for consideration. The study shows that several Member States, including Belgium, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom, could collect up to 50% more revenue if they applied a unified tax on all consumption.
Keywords: Financial sector, Europe, VAT, finance, optimal taxation
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