The Pitfalls of Accepted VAT Wisdom: Lessons from EU Experience

de la Feria, Rita (2008) The Pitfalls of Accepted VAT Wisdom: Lessons from EU Experience. In: Tax Law Seminar, November 2008, University of Connecticut. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Initially spreading throughout Europe, VAT remained confined to a handful of countries until the late 1960s. Yet, by 2001, according to the IMF, over 120 countries around the World had introduced VAT systems. At present, more than 130 countries apply a VAT system, with the US being the only OECD country which has not succumbed to the allure of this tax. Underlying core motivations for introducing a VAT system vary across the world, but there are overall strong intellectual and practical reasons for its introduction. In light of the advantages of a VAT, namely in terms its simplicity and revenue collection power, the US has been interested in this tax since the 1970s. At present, whilst the political difficulties of enacting a VAT in the US are widely acknowledged, it is also clear that such a move remains very much under consideration. The aim of this paper is not to enter the debate of discussing the merits or demerits of introducing a VAT system in the US. Rather, it is to consider, should the US ultimately decide to introduce such a tax, what should be the legal design features of a US VAT, namely in terms of tax base and rate structure. The pitfalls highlighted are drawn from the EU VAT experience over the last four decades.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Keywords: Taxes; VAT; Europe
Subject(s): Taxation
Centre: Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation
Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2012 20:55
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2015 14:06
URI: http://eureka.sbs.ox.ac.uk/id/eprint/2397

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