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UK - OTS’ plan to simplify VAT

The Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) has recently launched a report setting out 23 steps for the government to create a less difficult VAT framework.

Frank Haskew, head of ICAEW Tax Faculty, said, “VAT was introduced in 1973 as a ‘simple tax’. Since then it has become vastly more complicated to administer and is a significant burden that falls disproportionately on smaller businesses.”

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GR - Tax on ‘Airbnb’

An online platform will be created whereby properties that are rented out via Airbnb will require registration with the income being declared and the associated tax being paid.

The amount of tax to be paid will be based upon income: a yearly income of up to 12,000 euros will incur the tax rate of 15 percent;

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EU hopes pinned on a December deal for new e-commerce VAT rules

The EU member states are hoping to reach an agreement on new VAT rules next month that aim to facilitate cross-border e-commerce as part of their  ‘digital single market strategy’, EU officials said on Tuesday.

"We need new rules to adapt our VAT system to the digital era", said Toomas Toniste, Minister for Finance of Estonia, which currently holds the Council presidency.

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Paradise Papers: European Union calls time on tax havens

Around 60 countries have now been warned that they may be ostracized because of their tax rules, in a move to create Europe’s first ever blacklist of tax havens, reports AFP.   The EU is now under pressure to fight for an end to tax practices which, according to some EU leaders, break the principles of solidarity and basic justice.

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US & Portugal – Exchange of Information Agreement

US and Portugal have recently agreed to exchange information relating to large multinational companies. This was announced by IRS last week. Reports designed to assist tax authorities between the two countries will assist in determining which multinationals may potentially be engaged in tax avoidance through transfer pricing or otherwise.

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FI - Excise duty increase on alcoholic beverages

The retail price of alcoholic beverages will increase by an average of five per cent in Finland in 2018.

This announcement comes after the Finnish government proposed that the excise duties on alcoholic beverages should be raised by an average of ten per cent dependent upon the alcoholic content of the drink.

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GCC - New list of VAT exempt items in Saudi Arabia

The General Authority of Zakat and Tax has recently released the list of items that will not be subject to VAT from 1st January 2018. This includes medicines, medical equipment and certain precious metals.

Further exemptions will affect house rent and government services such as passport and driving license issuance.

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Italy - Simplification of Intrastat Returns from 1st January 2018

Recently the Italian Tax Authorities approved a number of simplification measures relating to the submission of Intrastat returns. Decision n.194409/2017 includes the following changes that will be effective from 1st January 2018:

Intrastat Arrivals (Goods) – mandatory on a monthly basis and if the total amount of acquisitions is above €200,000 in one of the previous four quarters.

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EU - Changes within the EU voting structure could lose Luxembourg its ability to veto tax reforms

Last week the European Commission suggested  for 2018 the use of the 'passerelle clauses' which was part of the original Lisbon Treaty. The passerelle clause enables the switch from unanimous agreement to a majority vote on certain issues. Making it potentially more difficult for smaller countries to block changes that otherwise would have been swayed by a majority vote.

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Romania to reduce Income Tax

From January 1 2018 Romanian Income Tax will be reduced from 16% to 10%. This will bring Romania in line with Bulgaria.

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