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Symbolgrafik - Verfahren Mini-One-Stop-Shop

 

Enhance European cooperation in collecting VAT on digital services

 

“In the European Union, we need to do more to collect Value added tax on digital services. Member states should be committed to assessing VAT due in the accurate amount throughout the EU. For this purpose, member states need to work together much closer than before”, said Kay Scheller, President of the German SAI when a joint report developed by the German SAI and the Czech SAI was published. The audit report studied the new VAT mini one-stop shop (MOSS) scheme.

Since 1 January 2015, the MOSS scheme has been effective across the EU. The scheme serves the purpose of taxing digital services that traders supply to consumers. A German company providing such services within the EU may submit a single VAT return to the German tax authority and pay the VAT due in Germany. This VAT return covers all cross-border supplies of digital services to consumers in other EU-member states. Foreign companies may submit their returns in their respective member states. As a result, this scheme simplifies VAT compliance for online traders within the EU.

Seen from the tax authorities’ perspective, the MOSS scheme has not yet been a full success. This is the conclusion that the Czech and the German SAIs have drawn. They found structural shortcomings in Germany and the Czech Republic that impede effective VAT management under the MOSS scheme and may result in flawed VAT assessment and collection. To take an example: Tax authorities checked a few individual cases only to verify whether the companies had fully and accurately declared their turnovers under MOSS. The reason for that was the high administrative burden for gathering the relevant information needed. Coordinated audit work has illustrated that the shortcomings the SAIs found equally affect the two member states. In the future, the member states need to work more closely together than before.

Based on their national audit work, the two SAIs have developed joint recommendations for improvement. They recommend strengthening VAT inspection of traders under the MOSS scheme and making use of novel cooperative tools for tax authorities. The impact of these recommendations will depend on whether for the sake of European tax revenues, EU member states actually put their national interests in second place.

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