VATGlobal launches European VAT information portal vlearn

VATGlobal launches European VAT information portal vlearn

To promote regulatory knowledge, the new platform ‘vlearn’ is the first key central repository for EU VAT information for businesses to use themselves.

VATGlobal has just launched vlearn, a new knowledge platform drafted by an internal team of charted tax and accountancy professionals, supplying businesses with some of the most commonly sought-after local country rules for VAT issues across Europe.

The platform was developed by a team over several years, with a combined 45 years of VAT experience spanning advisory through to compliance and reporting, aiming to provide clear and precise European VAT knowledge for businesses of all sizes.

The portal also covers specific themes and principles on VAT, all the way through to the country level.

Vlearn has been tested by VATGlobal customers to ensure its focus on clear user experience and clarity. Feedback highlighted a real reduction in time when finding and applying the right information to ensure compliance and best practice for customers.

Vlearn also fits into the existing suite of technologies from VATGlobal, complimenting vflow and vfile to provide end-to-end support for businesses of all sizes, and employees of all levels of tax experience.

Making sense of VAT laws

Organisations are required to regularly use several solutions and resource bases to try and make sense of the VAT rules, with many of these being developed as a separate entity to the core tax business – and crucially, often with the content not developed by the core tax team.

Gareth Kobrin, CEO of VATGlobal explained: “vlearn was born out of our internal teams’ frustration with a lack of resource in the market for businesses to use themselves for the day to day queries that repeatedly came up.

“For businesses, it’s a huge time-sink and areas of concern, so we developed our own resource, using the knowledge of our vastly experienced team, and importantly the practical experience. Along with giving clear information to users, vlearn is also vastly cost effective to quickly clear up day to day VAT queries versus the resulting fines and penalties for getting VAT wrong.”

The launch of vlearn comes at a time where the world of tax is experiencing technological transformation, in which the digitisation of the VAT processes is continuously growing across Europe – drawing from the initial work done in Latin America.

As a result, developed economies such as Italy are implementing real-time controls on invoicing and vastly shortening the window that businesses must become compliant. Meanwhile, France has also introduced a similar transition.

Post-Brexit regulations

Above all, global uncertainty has led to rapid change in international regulation, in which the need for an easier access to accurate information has significantly increased. In the event of UK closure on Brexit, new VAT laws will also emerge, leaving many in doubt.

Vlearn is however dedicated to clarifying any new regulation and VAT laws in a post-Brexit environment.

Kobrin commented: “vlearn has been developed to evolve at pace with the ever-changing global digital tax landscape. Our team of VAT specialists is consistently evaluating all tax changes in different markets which means any new VAT laws that come about as a result of Brexit will be incorporated into the solution.”

The platform will also look at the proposed VAT changes resulting from Boris Johnson’s current Brexit deal, particularly on how it could affect Northern Ireland.

Kobrin said: “Of course when it comes to Brexit the constantly changing landscape makes it hard to predict anything, but what we can do is look at the deal Boris Johnson has currently agreed with the EU. Under the new protocol outlined in the current Brexit deal, very simply put – EU rules on VAT will apply in Northern Ireland, with the UK responsible for their collection.”

HMRC as tax collector for the EU

In the PM’s current Brexit deal, not only will EU VAT rules apply in Northern Ireland, but the role of HMRC will also most likely undergo through some changes. In fact, the new agreement will transform HMRC into a tax collector for the EU, in which one of its duties will be to transfer Ireland’s VAT funds to the EU.

Kobrin explains: “This effectively means that HMRC will ironically become a tax collector for the EU. As such when goods are imported into Northern Ireland, UK VAT at 20% should apply, but under this new arrangement, Irish VAT will apply instead (23% for standard-rate products). UK customs officials will need to verify whether the goods are ultimately being sold in the UK, or whether they might move to the Republic of Ireland or somewhere else in the EU.

“Since it’s Irish VAT that will be charged, it belongs to the EU and so the UK must transfer the funds to the EU, however, revenues resulting from transactions taxable in Northern Ireland will be retained by the UK rather than being remitted to the EU.”

He concluded: “The UK will also be able to apply VAT exemptions and reduced rates in Northern Ireland, as long as they apply in Ireland as well.

“In theory it’s quite an elegant solution, because the concept of tax offices collecting VAT for each other already exists in Europe, but it would create several complexities and a number of questions still remain.”

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