The EU wants to harmonise the format of VAT returns. Unfortunately, there's a fundamental difference in approach. The UK, along with Ireland, likes simple VAT returns with less than 10 lines of information. The Italians, apparently like 500 lines. The proposed compromise? 60!
VAT returns currently range from six information boxes in Ireland and nine in the UK to more than 500 in Italy. Some southern European states use the VAT return as a detailed auditing tool, while other nations see it as a more straightforward tax record, meaning the reforms would cut red tape for many businesses while imposing a heavier burden in countries like the UK and Germany.