Is the Completion of EU Single Market Hindered by VAT Evasion?
The planned movement to the origin principle with the cross-border pre-tax system on a full-scale would lead, ceteris paribus, to changes in VAT revenues in the individual EU countries. For instance, the member countries with trade surpluses and higher VAT rates would be significantly better off. For this reason, a clearing mechanism is necessary to rectify this type of revenue imbalance among the EU nations. The introduction of the Single Market in 1993 appears to have further encouraged firms’ and households’ evasive behaviour in paying VAT in the EU. In order to estimate its relevance, this study quantifies the annual amount of hypothetical VAT revenues for the individual countries on the basis of the national accounts data. The relation between the calculated hypothetical and the (current) collected revenues in a fiscal year largely determines the extent of VAT evasion of a country when the time-lag problem between the creation of tax liability and the VAT collection in cash terms can be adjusted. The macroeconomic clearing is supposed to take place based on the share of hypothetical revenues of the member countries. Consequently, such a system seriously suffers from the adverse incentives for the individual nations since countries with a lower evasion ratio than the weighted average of all EU countries would lose the VAT revenues, whereas those with a higher evasion ratio would gain.
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