Describes the EU’s VAT system.
The EU’s VAT system is semi-harmonized. While the guidelines are set out at the EU level, the implementation of VAT policy is the prerogative of Member States. The EU VAT Directive allows Member States to apply a minimum 15 percent VAT rate. They may, however, apply reduced rates for specific goods and services or temporary derogations. Therefore, the examination of VAT rates by Member States is strongly recommended. These and other rules are laid out in the VAT Directive.
The EU applies VAT to sales by non-EU based companies of Electronically Supplied Services (ESS) to EU-based non-business customers. U.S. companies that are covered by the rule must collect and submit VAT to EU tax authorities. From January 1, 2015, all supplies of telecommunications, broadcasting, and electronic services are taxable at the place where the customer resides. In the case of businesses, this means either the country where it is registered or the country where it has fixed premises receiving the service. In the case of consumers, it is where they are registered, have their permanent address, or usually live.
As part of the legislative changes of 2015, the Commission launched the Mini One Stop Shop (MOSS) scheme, the use of which is optional. It is meant to facilitate the sales of ESS from taxable to non-taxable persons (B2C) located in Member States in which the sellers do not have an establishment to account for the VAT.
This plan allows taxable persons (sellers) to avoid registering in each Member State of consumption. A taxable person who is registered for the MOSS scheme in a Member State (the Member State of Identification) can electronically submit quarterly MOSS VAT returns detailing supplies of ESS to non-taxable persons in other Member States (the Member State(s) of consumption), along with the VAT due.