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All Member States have limited discretion to set VAT rates under EU VAT law. Under a scheme agreed in October 1999, countries may introduce a reduced VAT rate on certain 'labour-intensive' services. Several countries have made use of the scheme, though the UK Government has shown no interest in doing so. This note discusses the development of European VAT law, before looking at this scheme in detail.

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    In recent years concerns as to the scale of mass marketed tax avoidance schemes have led to three major initiatives to undermine this market, and encourage a sea change in attitudes, both in the accountancy industry and its customers: the Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes regime (DOTAS); the General Anti-Abuse Rule (GAAR); and the system of follower notices & accelerated payments. Following these initiatives the Government has continued to introduce provisions to tackle both tax avoidance and tax evasion, including measures in both the Spring & Autumn Budgets in 2017, and the 2018 Budget. This note provides an introduction to the issue of tax avoidance, looking in detail at the development of follower notices and accelerated payments, before discussing the current Government’s approach.

    Tax avoidance and tax evasion