EU moves to simplify VAT payments through e-invoices
(BRUSSELS) - European finance ministers on Tuesday agreed in principle to simplify sales tax (VAT) invoicing, particularly online, leading to up to 18 billion euros of savings for businesses.
The plan, which must yet be considered by the European parliament, is to "ensure the acceptance by tax authorities of e-invoices under the same conditions as for paper invoices."
The scheme would also remove legal obstacles to the transmission and storage of such e-invoices, while helping national authorities ensure that tax is paid "so as to better tackle VAT fraud."
The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, spoke in a statement of "potential annual cost savings for businesses at up to 18 billion euros (25 billion dollars) if obstacles to e-invoicing in VAT rules were to be removed."
"It is very important that we finally were able to put an equal treatment for electronic invoices and paper invoices," said EU tax commissioner Algirdas Semeta.
Such a move would be a boon in particular for small businesses, he added.
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