The Commission has just published a short report (below) which summarises the findings of last summer’s public consultation on the EU TOMS rules. A second report, the “synopsis report”, will be published later and this will provide a more detailed analysis of the contributions to this consultation.
This first report only covers the closed questions, i.e. those with predetermined response options. Responses to the open questions are not included but will be reflected in the later synopsis report.
There are no real surprises in this first report and the answers do support the need to reform the rules, presumably making it more likely that the Commission will now indeed pursue reform options. For those of you in the UK, this is now of course less important than it could have been but the answers do support the contention that the rules create a distortion of competition between EU and non-EU businesses. We already know that the creation of a level playing field in this area is a stated goal of any reform.
There were 206 responses, only four of which were from the UK. I think the most interesting results are:
- 81% agreed that TOMS simplifies the VAT rules but only 32% thought that the rules are now fit for purpose
- 82% thought that the loss of input tax on B2B supplies is more important than the simplification benefits of TOMS, suggesting that a large majority would welcome a loss of some simplification if the loss of input tax could be avoided
- Virtually all respondents thought that the need to calculate TOMS VAT separately for each sale (a requirement of the CJEU which we never adopted in the UK) makes the scheme more complicated, 86% thinking that it does so “to a large extent”
- 89% thought that the TOMS rules lack clarity
- 94% thought that differences in VAT treatment are responsible for distortions of competition. The most cited cause of such distortions (by 81%) was the differing implementations of the rules by member states. The second most cited (by 77%) was that third country suppliers are not covered by TOMS.
- 90% thought that the travel industry still needs special rules
- 90% thought that there is a need for TOMS reform
In each case, the percentage given is after the exclusion of “don’t knows” and “no answers”.
I hope this is interesting. Please do let me know if you would like to discuss any aspect.