Cross Border e-commerce consultation
The European Commission has launched a public consultation to help identify ways to simplify the Value-Added Tax (VAT) payments on cross-border e-commerce transactions in the EU.
The Commission is seeking to receive a wide range of views from business owners and other interested parties before it drafts its legislative proposals on the topic in 2016.
This consultation is part of the ongoing assessment of the new rules for VAT payments on cross-border telecommunications, broadcasting and electronic services which came into force last January. The Commission is keen to garner feedback on the associated Mini-One Stop Shop (MOSS), the tool that allows businesses that sell digital services to customers in more than one EU country to declare and pay all their VAT in their own Member State.
The consultation will run for 12 weeks and end on 18 December 2015.
Retail Export Consultation
This consultation invites general comments on options for redesigning the scheme and asks some specific questions relating to a number of possible changes.
37 responses to the consultation were received by HMRC. The respondents included: retailers, refund companies, overseas visitors, airport operators, tourist representative bodies and industry representatives.
The response document outlines the feedback received by HMRC, HMRC’s initial responses and the next steps in policy making process; summarised below.
The document suggests HMRC received positive feedback on the current scheme, although a variety of changes were proposed in order to modernise and improve the scheme.
A common criticism of the current scheme arising from the consultation was of the burden placed on retailers at the point of sale which includes manual form filling and responsibility for checking the eligibility of the claimant. Several respondents suggested that the compliance processes should be undertaken at the point of exit (airport, port etc.) by an experience customs officer, in addition the general consensus was that HMRC gather too much data on the claim form.
HMRC explained in its response that due to revenue protection and cost efficiency retailers will continue to have responsibility for compliance at the point of sale. However, HMRC acknowledged a need to standardise and simplify the form and collect only necessary data.
Other points addressed in the consultation include the congestion at airports and ports and lack of clear signage. HMRC recognised the need to improve processes at departure; currently they are updating protocol with Border Force who has responsibility for the scheme at airports and ports. However, they will not be increasing Border Force resources. HMRC also identified an intention to improve the compliance process at the point of sale and passenger service issues at airports.
In addition, HMRC announced in the consultation document that it does not currently intend to alter the current penalty regime or introduce a minimum threshold for using the scheme.
The need for a longer term digital solution to modernise the scheme and equip it for the future was the key idea to come from the consultation. HMRC stated that they will continue to consider options for a digitalised scheme as there would be significant benefits from this and will set out a plan for taking this work forward in early 2014. Digitalisation of the scheme is subject to funding issues as HMRC are unable to fund this, as such HMRC will be meeting with interested parties who wish to engage with HMRC to find ways to deliver this.
HMRC stated their intention to work with Stakeholders Interest Groups on the detail of these improvements prior to revising guidance. Changes to the current scheme will be made in 2014.
Closing date for comments 30 September 2013
Manufacturers’ refunds consultation
This consultation aims to discover the extent to which manufacturers make such payments; to consider how UK law needs to change to accommodate them; what impact that may have and what administrative burdens it may give rise to.
Closing date for comments: 31 August 2013
Draft legislation will follow shortly.
Consultation on proposed changes to zero-rating of exports
This consultation considers changes to VAT zero-rating of exports where goods are supplied to UK VAT registered customers established in countries other than the UK. The purpose of the consultation is to consider whether the proposed changes to VAT law achieve the intended result, and to understand the impact of changes on affected businesses.
Closing date for comments: 5 July 2013
The consultation exercise confirmed that the draft legislation does achieve the intended policy change. Therefore, changes to the law will be implemented on 1 October 2013 as planned.
Consultation on the withdrawal of the VAT exemption for research between eligible bodies
Consultation on the VAT exemption of higher education by ‘for profit’ providers