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This is a highly technical and specialised area and I'm not sure we're equipped to make a significant contribution. To make a meaningful contribution we need to know:

  1. The various VAT rates applied to different goods and services in each member state

  2. The various exemptions and offsets available in each member states - e.g. for small traders, public services, subsistence goods - e.g. fresh foods

  3. The tax collection mechanisms, costs, and compliance costs in each member state - time lapses for settlement, penalties for late settlement etc.

  4. The economic and opportunity costs created by trade distortions caused by variable VAT rates

I suppose our starting position should be an end goal of common rates on common goods and services, common definitions of those goods and services, common collection, compliance and enforcement mechanisms so that basically a company can operate the same VAT compliance systems regardless of where it trades within the EU.

The fraud, avoidance, administration and compliance cost reductions of a common system combined with the economic benefits could probably fund a significant overall reduction in rates or perhaps transition subsidies for those Members where greater difficulties might be experienced during the transition.

Other principles we might want to apply include:

i) Zero rates on basic subsistence foods and services, and fresh produce produced by smaller producers

ii) moderates rates - e.g. 10% on labour intensive services - hotels, restaurants, construction

iii) A higher rate on luxury, carbon energy intensive, discretionary goods and services.

Should we also set a target for the % of the total tax base which should be achieved by VAT, income taxes, capital and property taxes etc.? I.e what degree of progression should be built into the overall system? What about VAT on financial transactions - in the absence of a Tobin tax?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 05:02:25 PM EST
You focus on taxation rates. Look at the consultation and accompanying documents
Consultation paper: Green Paper on the future of VAT- Towards a simpler, more robust and efficient VAT system (pdf 102 Kb)(102 Kb) .

Reference documents

  • `Commission Staff Working Paper - Future of VAT (pdf 502 Kb)(502 Kb) ' accompanying the Green Paper on the future of VAT
  • Study on the feasibility of alternative methods for improving and simplifying the collection of VAT through the means of modern technologies and/or financial intermediaries (pdf 7.34 Mb)(7.34 Mb)
  • Summary of the study (pdf 125 Kb)(125 Kb)
I am interested in linking this planned reform of VAT with the FactoRepo system that has been introduced in Ecuador and mentioned by Chris Cook here on ET in connection with monetary reform.

Because monetary reform is it.

Now, I don't have the slightest hope that whatever anyone submits to the consultation will be taken on, but until we've taken a stab we won't know whether we can make a contribution.

Not to be rude, but if you can reach the conclusion that

This is a highly technical and specialised area and I'm not sure we're equipped to make a significant contribution.
before, I suspect, reading the consultation document, maybe you can sit this one out.

Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Dec 18th, 2010 at 03:15:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
European Commission:
Study on the feasibility of alternative methods for improving and simplifying the collection of VAT through the means of modern technologies and/or financial intermediaries
Here on ET: Beyond Paper: Mobile Money (by ChrisCook on March 17th, 2010)
Such credit clearing has been routine between tens of thousands of Swiss businesses since 1934 on the WIR credit clearing system. More recently, in Ecuador, the FactoRepo system currently under development will enable VAT-registered businesses to discount their invoices directly with the Central Bank and thereby free up working capital. Neither Swiss Francs nor Dollars, respectively, actually change hands in these systems: instead credit obligations of businesses (trade credit) is simply used in payment of other obligations within a framework of trust, the WIR's being private, and FactoRepo's, public. The Swiss Franc and the Dollar are used only as the pricing reference or value standard.
But hey, evidently
This is a highly technical and specialised area and I'm not sure we're equipped to make a significant contribution.


Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Dec 18th, 2010 at 03:35:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Easy Miguel, this had been my initial reaction as well.
But yes, I'm all in favour of introducing a Tobin tax in the VAT.

Less clear about simulating the carbon tax, because we'd lose the incentive to decarbonise any given process (since you'd pay the same rate as everybody else in the industry), in a way you might as well have the dirtiest process available, and answer any campaign by saying that you are heavily taxed on your carbon consumption, which allows for savings elsewhere and bla bla...

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Sun Dec 19th, 2010 at 04:17:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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