IOTA Forum on Combating VAT Fraud

Erika Szabó's picture
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IOTA has just carried out another fruitful hybrid activity, the Forum on Combating VAT Fraud took place on 13th -15th June 2023 in Budapest, Hungary. Over 50 tax officials from 27 IOTA member administrations joined in person and more than 200 participants from the membership attended digitally the forum meeting. It was a pleasure to welcome to the event guest speakers from our international partner organisations such as the European Commission’s DG TAXUD and the European Commission’s Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) along with the international enforcement agency, EUROPOL. Forum participants explored new VAT fraud trends, exchanged knowledge, and shared good practices on how to handle concrete cases of organised cross-border VAT fraud during the three-day meeting.

On the first day, guest speakers from our international partner organisations set the floor for the meeting and shared insights with the audience on the following topics:

  • Enforcing VAT on digital trade: emerging OECD analysis presented by Stéphane Buydens, OECD
  • Administrative cooperation and combating fraud in the field of VAT, EU – Approach presented by Francisco Fernández Monge, EU Commission, TAXUD
  • The role of OLAF in tackling VAT fraud presented by James Creed & Diego Modones, EU Commission, OLAF
  • Europol`s support in fighting MTIC fraud presented by Dan Baicu, EUROPOL

At the meeting,  one of the plenary sessions was devoted to examining “prevention activities” in terms of education/due diligence for economic operators and voluntary compliance programmes delivered by IOTA member administrations such as Austria, Hungary, and the United Kingdom. Forum participants also explored new VAT Fraud trends covering luxury items, this topic was worked out by Luxembourg.

  • Austria: VAT Fraud Prevention Activities in Austria presented by Wolfgang Kolar
  • Hungary: Experience of supportive tax authority actions in Hungary presented by Gábor dr. Szlifka
  • United Kingdom: Due Diligence as a Compliance Tool - a UK Perspective presented by Simon Vincent
  •  Luxembourg: Trade with luxury watches via marketplaces and social media presented by Serge Hollerich

The next parts of the Forum brought new knowledge and another group of insightful presentations from IOTA member administrations onto the stage, and particularly focused on the country’s experiences of tackling organised cross-border VAT fraud. The presentations, delivered by Belgium, France, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, and Sweden along with an invited guest country, Singapore, discussed a wide range of cases from fake invoices, through VAT fraud in the wholesale of electronics to the use of data analysis tools in tackling VAT fraud.

  • Belgium: Data Analysis Tools to tackle VAT Fraud: Use cases at the Ministry of Finance Belgium presented by Pieter Vercruysse & PascalBeaujeant
  • France: Selection and monitoring of distance sellers under the IOSS scheme presented by Arnaud Pellegrini & Guilhem Peuch
  • Italy: Preventing and intercepting VAT fraud through an effective analysis tool presented by Andrea Damiani & Veronica Mormile
  • Lithuania: Suspected VAT fraud in wholesale of electronic and telecommunication equipment sector presented by Birutė Bieliauskienė
  • Norway: Adult entertainment – the forgotten VAT gap? presented by Geir Otto Jensen
  • Sweden: Fake invoices in cross-border VAT-fraud with mobile phones: a case from the Swedish Tax Administration presented by Martin Olsson
  • Singapore: Missing Trader Fraud (“MTF”) Case Sharing by Singapore presented by Kenny Hor

The presented cases and issues were discussed by the participants in smaller breakout sessions in order to exchange their own views, ideas, and experiences regarding the Forum topic on tackling organised cross-border VAT fraud. At the end of the event, Forum attendees were also actively involved in an open debate to share lessons learned and discuss the main benefits of the 3-day technical activity. All the materials and presentations are now available online and the event recording with the photos will be made uploaded soon to the event’s webpage. This Forum was led and supported by the IOTA International Taxation Experts Massimo Morarelli and Ivana Donchevska.