The Big Question – FDs welcom European VAT harmonisation

In a poll conducted by Accountancy Age and Reed Accountancys, simplifying and standardising the system, according to the majority of finance directors surveyed for the Big Question, writes Kathy Greene. Personnel, 62% of FDs complained the present system was too complicated and said a merger with European business culture would be beneficial. Just 14% of FDs thought harmonisation would be impossible to administer or would mean an increase in VAT rates.

‘It would be another step towards a genuine free market in Europe. Business would survive and prosper as a result of its competitiveness and efficiency as opposed to artificial means such as subsidies and VAT inequalities,’ said Stuart Chapman, FD, at International Baccalaureate.

‘It will simplify everything greatly and lead to no more self-adjustments on administrative procedures,’ added Peter Spanos of car park service providers TFM Contract Services.

‘The tangled web of EC sales declarations is a bureaucratic barrier to open EC trade. Let’s harmonise now and cut the red tape,’ said David Harrison of design company Ahrend Ltd.

Mark Webster, of Internet security dealers Integalis agreed. ‘The EC is supposed to be a common market. Until such time as VAT and other indirect taxes are harmonised this will not be the case,’ he said.

But Charles Cravos, of house building equipment traders Selco Centres, said: ‘It would require a radical reform of other indirect and direct taxes.’

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