Welcome to the VAT Blog!

Thank you for joining us here on the VAT Blog. This is one of the leading resources of Value Added Tax (VAT) news, and you will find that most of what we do here applies similarly to Goods and Services Tax (GST, the VAT in Canada, Australia and Singapore).

Mark Houtzager, the principal blogger here, is based in Brooklyn, NY. Mark is one of the handful independent VAT consultants in the U.S. His clients are big brand multinationals, online businesses and also smaller companies that have limited operations overseas, yet require practical, hands-on and timely tax advice. Many VAT Blog readers have found that Mark is always happy to get on the phone and provide a helping nudge in the right direction, whether you are a client or not.

More information is on Mark’s homepage at www.us-vat.com.

If you want to connect in person, there are plenty opportunities to reach out to me – I am only a click away.

You can send an email to mark@us-vat.com, or give me a call on 646-397-5855.

Also, please make sure to sign up for my email list (under “Subscribe” in the right column) if you are interested in Value Added Tax in general, and its impact on U.S. companies in particular.

Also, because there are almost 600 entries on this blog, you will want to use the search function. It is in the right column, under “Search here”.

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No VAT for Puerto Rico any time soon

The Puerto Rico Senate has overridden the veto of the Governor – there will be no introduction of VAT in Puerto Rico on June 1. The current Sales and Use Tax as well as the Business Tax will continue after June 1.

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EU ministers agree on VAT Action Plan

All good news from the group of finance ministers of all 28 member states (“ECOFIN”): they enthusiastically embraced the VAT Action Plan that the EU Commission came up with recently (see http://www.us-vat.com/blog/?p=1184).

They have a couple of comments that aim to accelerate the process, which makes sense given that the focus of the VAT Action Plan is on minimizing the “VAT gap” (see http://www.us-vat.com/blog/?p=1065 and http://www.us-vat.com/blog/?p=897). The faster these proposals get implemented, the more VAT revenue flows in the ministers’ coffers!

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No go for Puerto Rico?

Preparing for the planned VAT implementation in Puerto Rico has been a total nightmare for businesses. Many IT departments are currently trying to make sense of the Day 1 requirements, which is assumed to be June 1, i.e. next week.

In the meantime, the PR House and Senate has passed legislation that stops the entire idea of a VAT in PR. Currently, the wait is for the governor to veto. But even if the would do that, there is a procedure for Congress to override the governor’s veto.

But as long as the governor has not signed the legislation that abolishes VAT, we must assume that VAT will happen.

Difficult position to be in, but I’m not ready to advise my clients to call it off…

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EU VAT compliance: list of recent changes

Sovos published a list of recent changes in VAT compliance rules in the European Union – have a look here: http://sovos.com/blog/recent-vat-compliance-updates-may-2016/.

Like The VAT Blog, Sovos has a free subscription service, that automatically sends an email at the time of a new publication. You can sign up for Sovos’ emails through the above link.

Sign up for once-weekly VAT Blog emails here: http://eepurl.com/bcRipD

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VAT unlikely in Puerto Rico – now what?

Puerto Rico is on the brink of NOT introducing a VAT on June 1. The PR parliament has overwhelmingly voted in favor of a proposal to abolish the plans to introduce a VAT, and to stick to the existing Sales and Use Tax system.

However, the governor may veto this proposal.

Our friend Carlos Serrano (cserrano@reichardescalera.com) writes:

“At this time, certainty on the tax consequences of commercial transactions for June 1, 2016 and thereafter is unattainable. The bill, as approved, will hopefully make its way quickly to La Fortaleza to either become law or be vetoed and in the eventuality of the latter, the outcome will continue to be uncertain until a potentially unprecedented vote at both the House and Senate. If anything can be assured, it is that there will not be a dull moment in the long running saga of Puerto Rico’s attempt at a comprehensive tax reform.”

See Carlos’ entire message here:

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On my way to Avalara’s conference

All done with prepping my 3 VAT sessions in two days – I am on my way to New Orleans for “CRUSH” – Avalara’s first tax conference.

I am looking forward to meeting many new and surely a bunch of old friends! Back in NYC late Thursday.

Please drop me an email (mark@us-vat.com) if you want to receive a pdf copy of the slides.

Cafe Du Monde, New Orleans, 2014

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Reminder: a free, in-depth EU VAT course

Just to post a quick PSA that the European Commission has a free online EU VAT course on their website. This course provides you with the fundamentals of the EU VAT Directive.

It covers the typical “VAT 101” type topics that you will see and hear in my one-hour VAT training sessions, but then in more detail, and with more legal references and case law. There are 12 modules of 20-50 mins each.

Yes, it is entirely EU-centric, but that is not a bad thing as this course will give you a head start on studying other VAT systems, as the basic rules are pretty much the same across the globe.


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