In February 2008, the EU Ministers of Finance adopted a package of changes regarding the VAT system in Europe. One of the objectives of this package is to modernize and simplify existing rules regarding the cross-border delivery of services within the EU. Another objective is to reduce fraud. This new VAT package will be introduced in all EU countries on the 1st of January 2010.
This means that before the end of 2009, all 27 EU countries will have to include these changes in their local VAT legislation. I will not go in full detail of the new package in this post, but I will give you 3 major changes that might also impact your business (if it’s located in the EU, of course). It is a complicated manner, so I tried to write it down as clearly as possible.
- If you are a VAT-registered business and you sell or move goods to other VAT-registered businesses within the European Union (EU), you must record and report data on your activities. There are two systems: Intrastat and the European Community (EC) Sales List. This EC Sales List, the listing of delivery of goods, will be replaced by the listing of delivery of goods and services. This listing will thus not only be for the delivery of goods, but now also for the services that you provide to customers that are liable to VAT (B2B) located in another EU country. The periodicity of the ESL (EC Sales List) will be quarterly or monthly depending of the size of the company.
- In case of (cross-border) delivery of services, you will have to list these services on the EC Sales List if the location of your customer is in another European country than your own. In other words, the location where the service is actually executed is not relevant anymore. Only the country of your customer is relevant.
- The VAT return can also be changed, but this will differ per country. For example in the Netherlands, goods and services have to be reported in the existing ‘box 3’ while in Belgium two new VAT boxes will be added to the VAT return. Whatever solution a country will choose, the objective is always to have a full coherence between the EC Sales List and the VAT return.
For some countries the modifications that have to be implemented in the EC Sales List and the VAT return are already known, while in other countries these modifications will not be totally clear before November or December of this year.
Even though not all the changes are known yet, Exact Software will not and cannot wait until the last minute to implement these changes in Exact Globe and Exact Online. With customers in almost every EU country we have to take timely measures. Therefore we are currently, for each individual EU country, in contact with the local VAT administration and accountancy firms to investigate the impact for the local VAT return and EC Sales List.
Around Europe, you have probably received invitations to follow a seminar regarding this subject, often organized by the VAT authority, accountants offices or business organizations. We advise you to follow one of these seminars. This because the new VAT package will not only have impact on the VAT return or the EC Sales List, but it will also have an impact on the way that you will register your financial data.
As soon as we have new information about the VAT package of 2010 and/or the impact on our software, we will keep you informed via this blog.
Photo credit: Phillip