European Builders Confederation issues press release on EU V.A.T:
Reduced VAT rates should be accompanied by better information and coherence
On 18 January 2018 the European Commission presented the awaited third part of its value added tax (VAT) package. The draft guidelines on VAT rates include the following new/adapted elements:
In addition to the two reduced rates with a minimum of 5%, which Member States can already apply, the proposal allows an additional super-reduced rate of below 5% and a VAT exemption.
As a prerequisite for all reduced rates and exemptions, Member States need to ensure that reduced and zero rates benefit the final consumer and pursue an objective of general interest.
A weighted average VAT rate of at least 12% is introduced in order to avoid unfair competition.
Reduced VAT rates have been a priority for EBC and its member organisations since 1997, when EBC was amongst the promoters of a reduced VAT rates campaign. Since 1999 reduced VAT rates apply to labour-intensive services in the construction sector (first in a trial period and since 2009 on a permanent basis) such as provision, construction, renovation and alteration of housing, as part of social policy.
Given this, EBC supports reduced rates and encourages further Member States to make use of them in order to renovate the building stock in the European Union. However, it is important to keep in mind that a large diversity of VAT rates can lead to higher administrative burdens and compliance costs for SMEs, which needs to be avoided. This is especially true for construction SMEs engaging in border regions.
A new Annex IIIa outlines a negative list of goods and services, to which reduced or zero rates cannot be applied.