On 23 October 2013 the European Commission published its proposal for a standard EU VAT return. With the proposal, the Commission aims to ease the administrative burdens for companies and to contribute to creating a more efficient and fraud-proof VAT system. If this proposal is adopted, all businesses will have to adjust their systems. Standardisation should lead to a decrease of the overall administrative burden.
The standard VAT return should replace the currently existing national VAT returns of the EU member states from 1 January 2017. The proposed standard VAT return will have only 5 compulsory boxes for taxpayers to fill in. These will be: chargeable VAT, deductible VAT, net VAT amount (payable or receivable), total value of input transactions and total value of output transactions. However, Member States are given leeway to include a number of additional standardised elements, up to a maximum of 26 (5 compulsory and 21 optional) information boxes, covering, for example, the split between tax rates or details of cross-border transactions. The proposal also encourages electronic filing.
The proposed declaration period is one month with an optional quarterly period for small businesses (under € 2 million annual turnover) with VAT being due and paid by the end of the month following the VAT return period. Member States may allow longer periods not exceeding one year.