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country-icon European Union

10.31.23

2023 VAT gap study

VAT gaps are defined as the difference between expected VAT revenues and the VAT revenues that are effectively collected by Member States. VAT gaps are often the driving factor behind the enactment of e-invoicing mandates. It is therefore logical to assess VAT gaps across Europe, as this can assist in identifying what measures specific countries will need to implement to curb the growth of VAT gaps across the continent.

The European Commission has undertaken this investigation and now published its findings. According to the report, a significant reduction of the overall VAT Gap took place in 2021, with the VAT gap estimated at €61 billion compared to €99 billion in 2020.

This increase can be explained by a variety of variables, which have been summarised below:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of temporary support measures often depending on paying taxes
  • An increase in electronic payments and online shopping, where VAT compliance is generally much higher
  • The benefits of new digital reporting tools, the real-time tracking of transactions and e-invoicing regimes which prove to be particularly effective against VAT fraud.

The study verifies that actions Member States are taking to lower their VAT gaps are working - while also justifying the need for future measures, such as e-reporting and e-invoicing mandates. The study can also dictate future initiatives that EU Member States can adopt to curtail VAT gaps yet further.

The full study can be accessed via the following link:

https://taxation-customs.ec.europa.eu/taxation-1/value-added-tax-vat/vat-gap_en#:~:text=Though%20still%20extremely%20high%2C%20the,compared%20to%20the%202019%20figures

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