Most EU countries have slowly switched over to VAT or value added tax on goods and services, along with order to comply with a common code all eu countries that follow vat have to follow vat eu directives. These directives are amended regularly in a bid to further optimize the system so as to avoid tax leaks and make sure better co-operation among states in collecting and refunding vat.
The European countries through its website ec.europa.eu tries to educate member countries and vat registered traders in a variety of countries on some of the rules and regulations that apply on current and future vat rates and refunds. Several countries in Europe including the UK, Sweden, Poland, Greece, Germany, Italy, etc have slowly shifted to the system of vat tax in a bid to improve tax revenues as well as plug tax holes which were previously draining precious resources. Each vat enabled country has its own interpretation of european vat or europa vat rules that might vary slightly but they are almost similar in principle.
For example, in the United Kingdom a trader that has crossed over the vat threshold limit will have to turn into a vat registered trader before issuing any vat http://vatvalidation.com/vat invoice. The subsequent vat collected by the trader will then be adjusted against any vat paid and the difference is paid to HM Revenue and Customs or hmrc vat department that looks after all issues connected to customs duties, excise and vat in the UK. Similarly, a trader in Poland would have to issue a faktura invoice, which essence is really a vat invoice however in Polish language, and pay vat to the relevant vat department in that country.
Since each country has adopted vat in a slightly different manner through the use of varying vat rates to similar products, traders all over Europe usually have to hire a vat agent or vat consultant to help file vat returns regularly. These agents need to be experts in interpreting vat eu rules and vat rules applicable in their own country. For instance, a UK trader with vat registration has to appoint a vat agent that may be conversant with uk vat rules. If that trader imports goods from other vat countries in Europe that have already charged vat on the same then the vat agent of this trader will be able to file for vat refund so as to reclaim vat back. This method is quite lengthy but could help European traders recover vat amounts previously paid, which in turn can lower their costs and enhance their income.
The europa website tries to educate all vat enabled eu countries to adhere to a standard system of vat so as to decrease friction among states due to varying vat rates on similar goods or services. Several countries in Europe too have come up with their very own amendments as they attempt to adapt completely to eu vat directives for better vat compliance in their own country and across borders too.
The move of shifting over to vat has benefited various countries in Europe since they have witnessed higher revenue collections over the years. However, in a bid to make sure better co-operation between member countries, vat eu directives and amendments from the European Commission are making constant efforts to improve the system of collecting and refunding vat.