Most European Union countries have slowly switched to VAT or value added tax on services and goods, and in order to comply with a standard code all eu countries that follow vat have to follow vat eu directives. These directives are amended regularly in a bid to further fine tune the system in order to avoid tax leaks and ensure better co-operation among member countries in collecting and refunding vat.
The European countries through its website ec.europa.eu attempts to educate member countries and vat registered traders in a variety of countries on some of the regulations that apply on current and future vat rates and refunds. Several countries in Europe including the UK, Sweden, Poland, Greece, Germany, Italy, etc have slowly shifted to the system of vat tax in a bid to improve tax revenues as well as plug tax holes which were previously draining precious resources. Each vat enabled country has its own interpretation of european vat or europa vat rules that may vary slightly but are almost similar in principle.
For example, in the United Kingdom a trader which has crossed across the vat threshold limit will have to turn into a vat registered trader before issuing any vat http://vatvalidation.com/vat invoice. The subsequent vat collected by the trader is then adjusted against any vat paid and the difference is paid to HM Revenue and Customs or hmrc vat department that looks after all issues linked to customs duties, excise and vat in the United Kingdom. Similarly, a trader in Poland would have to issue a faktura invoice, which essence is a vat invoice but in Polish language, and pay vat to the relevant vat department in that country.
Since each country has adopted vat in a slightly different manner by applying varying vat rates to similar products, traders all across Europe usually have to hire a vat agent or vat consultant to help file vat returns regularly. These agents need to be experts in interpreting vat eu rules and vat rules applicable in their country. For example, a UK trader with vat registration has to appoint a vat agent that is conversant with uk vat rules. If that trader imports goods from other vat countries in Europe which have already charged vat on the same then a vat agent of this trader will be able to apply for vat refund in order to reclaim vat back. This method is pretty lengthy but can help European traders recover vat amounts previously paid, which in turn can lower their costs and enhance their cash flow.
The europa website attempts to educate all vat enabled eu countries to adhere to a standard system of vat in order to decrease friction among member countries due to varying vat rates on similar services or goods. Several countries in Europe too have come up with their own amendments as they try to adapt completely to eu vat directives for better vat compliance in their country and across borders too.
The move of shifting to vat has benefited various European countries as they have witnessed higher revenue collections over time. However, in a bid to ensure better co-operation between states, vat eu directives and amendments issued by the EU Commission are making constant efforts to improve the system of collecting and refunding vat.