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Commission proposes fixing minimum standard EU VAT rate

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The European Commission has proposed an amendment to the VAT directive which would make permanent the current minimum standard VAT rate of 15% across the EU.

The minimum standard VAT rate has been prolonged several times over a number of years and the current rate of 15% is in force until 31 December 2017.

The Commission proposal notes that a minimum standard rate of 15% ‘remains appropriate’, in view of the fact that all member states currently apply a standard rate of at least 17%. The amendment to the VAT directive will permanently implement an agreed limit, as part of the move towards a definitive EU VAT system, for which formal proposals were adopted in October 2017.

A public consultation on VAT rates was held between December 2016 and March 2017. Of the 327 respondents, around half (52%) favoured keeping the current minimum of 15%. Some 16% of respondents were against keeping the current minimum, while 32% did not express an opinion.

Member states would have to give effect to the change in national legislation by 1 January 2018 at the latest. See

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