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What does ViDA mean for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)?

September 4, 2023
Minutes reading time

What does the "VAT in the Digital Age" initiative (ViDA) stand for and what does it mean for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in particular?

ViDA - a new European technical term that one should remember from today and which will play a significant role in the near future! Especially for SMEs. The EU has launched the "VAT in the Digital Age Initiative" to adapt the VAT Directive to the challenges of the digital economy. The initiative aims to modernize and simplify value-added tax in cross-border business, particularly in e-commerce.

The main objectives of the VAT in the Digital Age initiative are:

  1. Modernizing Value Added Tax rules:
    The initiative aims to adapt VAT rules to digital realities to ensure that businesses, especially in the e-commerce sector, are fairly taxed.

  2. Fighting the so-called Value Added Tax gap (VAT-gap):
    Another objective is to combat the VAT-gap, with states aiming to ensure that value-added taxes are properly paid. This particularly concerns value-added taxes in cross-border business transactions.

  3. Simplification of rules:
    The initiative aims to simplify the VAT Directive, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to make it easier for them to comply with the rules.

Why is this important for SMEs?

The VAT in the Digital Age initiative is interesting for SMEs in the EU for several reasons:

  1. Simplification of tax regulations:
    The initiative aims to simplify the complex VAT rules, which will also help SMEs in particular, as they often have fewer resources for tax compliance.

  2. Facilitating cross-border trade:
    For SMEs engaged in cross-border digital activities, simplified VAT regimes can facilitate trade within the EU and improve access to new markets.

  3. Competitiveness:
    Modernized and fair value-added taxation contributes to the competitiveness of SMEs by creating a level playing field compared to large companies.

  4. Fraud prevention:
    The initiative aims to reduce tax fraud, which can ultimately lead to fairer competitive conditions for SMEs.

Overall, the "VAT in the Digital Age" initiative aims to facilitate compliance for SMEs, promote cross-border trade, and enhance competitiveness in the digital economy.

Prerequisite: Mandatory electronic invoicing

IMPORTANT: A key pillar of this initiative will be mandatory electronic invoicing. Companies should start preparing for this now!

This is because the introduction of mandatory electronic invoicing (based on structured data exchange, not PDF invoices) is important for the "VAT in the Digital Age Initiative" for several reasons:

  1. Efficiency and accuracy:
    Electronic invoices are generally more efficient and less prone to errors than paper invoices. This helps ensure that sales taxes are correctly recorded and collected, which is important for EU tax revenues.
  2. Combating incorrect tax reporting:
    Electronic invoices are more secure and reliable than paper invoices. This helps to prevent incorrect tax reporting and ensure that companies pay the correct amounts of sales tax.
  3. Transparency and traceability:
    Electronic invoices enable better transparency and traceability of transactions. This is important to ensure that sales taxes are properly recorded and paid in cross-border transactions.
  4. Simplifying compliance:
    Using electronic invoices can make it easier for businesses to comply with sales tax regulations by automating processes and simplifying the recording of transactions.
  5. Reducing administrative costs:
    Switching to electronic invoices can help reduce administrative costs associated with processing and storing paper invoices.
  6. Promoting cross-border trade:
    Electronic invoices can promote cross-border trade by facilitating the exchange of information between companies and tax authorities and helping to cut red tape.

Overall, mandatory electronic invoicing contributes to modernizing and increasing the efficiency of VAT Directive and supports the goals of the "VAT in the Digital Age" initiative to make VAT fairer and more effective in the digital age.

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