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EU ministers agree anti-VAT fraud mechanisms

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EU finance ministers agreed on a proposal to combat fraud related to VAT in a meeting in Luxembourg on Friday, according to Bloomberg. Ministers voted to implement the reverse-charge and quick reaction mechanism (QRM) across member states in response to missing trader intra-community (MTIC) fraud, which has recently affected the European electricity market, despite some business concerns that the measures would increase administrative burdens and complexity.

However, 10 European power and gas groups welcomed the decision, saying the measures will help prevent further abuse. In a joint statement, they said: ‘It is now important that all EU member states make appropriate use of the possibility of applying the reverse-charge mechanism to qualifying electricity and gas transactions in their national markets in order to actively eradicate VAT fraud and to prevent significant losses.’

EU leaders had called on finance ministers to adopt the anti-VAT fraud measures ‘by the end of June 2013 at the latest’ as part of a 10-point plan to tackle tax evasion. ‘VAT fraud in Europe costs literally billions, if not trillions, and action has been awaited for quite a long time now; we have got that particular one over the line,’ Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan told reporters in Luxembourg.