Coordinating VATs between EU Member States
The paper surveys coordination requirements for a final European VAT (short for viable integrated VAT) system. Using a set of criteria that can be identified from the EU VAT program for the single market, we analyze the potential superiority of the Commission's 1996 VAT proposal and four alternative VAT systems over the current transitional regime. We argue that the recent withdrawal of the 1996 VAT proposal is economically beneficial, as this VAT reform would have generated substantial costs for EU member states due to losses in national tax autonomy and adverse incentives in VAT collection and control. If the Commission adheres to its political desiderata, the VIVAT regime turns out to be a promising blueprint for the EU. If the Commission decides to lay aside its preference for compliance symmetry, and accepts that different treatment of domestic and cross-border supplies under the transitional VAT regime should not be regarded discriminatory in the Internal Market, then keeping and revising the transitional system should turn out to be a good VAT strategy for Europe. Copyright 2003 by Kluwer Academic Publishers
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