Most European Union countries have slowly switched over to VAT or value added tax on services and goods, and in order to abide by 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 states and vat registered traders in various countries on a number of 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 raise tax revenues and also to plug tax holes www.vatvalidation.com/vat that were previously draining precious resources. Each vat enabled country possesses its own interpretation of european vat or europa vat rules that might vary slightly but are almost similar in principle.
For example, in the UK a trader which has crossed across the vat threshold limit will have to turn into a vat registered trader before issuing any vat invoice. The following vat collected from the trader is then adjusted against any vat paid as well as 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 UK. Similarly, a trader in Poland would have to issue a faktura invoice, which essence is a vat invoice however 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 over Europe usually have to hire a vat agent or vat consultant to assist file vat returns regularly. These agents need to be experts in interpreting vat eu rules and vat rules applicable in their own country. For instance, a UK trader with vat registration has to appoint a vat agent that is conversant with uk vat rules. In the event that trader imports goods from other vat countries in Europe that have already charged vat on the same then a vat agent of that trader should be able to file for vat refund in order to reclaim vat back. This process is pretty lengthy but can help European traders recover vat amounts previously paid, which inturn 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 so as to decrease friction among member countries due to varying vat rates on similar services or goods. Several European countries too have come with their very own amendments as they attempt to adapt completely to eu vat directives for better vat compliance in their own country and across borders too.
The move of shifting over to vat has benefited various European countries since they have witnessed higher revenue collections over time. However, in a bid to make sure better co-operation between states, vat eu directives and amendments issued by the European Commission are making constant efforts to improve the system of collecting and refunding vat.