VATLive > Blog > Europe > 2020 - EU VAT four quick fixes

2020 - EU VAT four quick fixes

  • 29 December 2019 | Richard Asquith

The EU VAT regime, which collects €1.2 trillion in taxes per annum, is due to undergo huge reforms over the next few years. Member states are debating overhauling the current ‘temporary’ systems for a definitive ‘destination’ based regime – provisionally from July 2022. This reform is aimed at helping eliminate an estimated €50 billion in annual VAT fraud. 

Ahead of this reform, EU member states have agreed four changes for 1st January 2020 to the business-to-business (B2B) VAT rules on EU cross-border transactions (‘intra-community supplies’). These will help businesses operating cross-border supply chains by clarifying their VAT obligations. They also seek to tighten up areas vulnerable to VAT fraud. These reforms are known as the ‘four quick fixes’, and cover the following areas: 

Quick fix

Topic What's changing

Call-off stock

Harmonising and reducing the obligation to VAT register on stock holdings held with a customer in another EU member state. 

Chain transactions

Clarifying the pan-EU VAT rules on supply chain transactions and VAT zero-rating to provide businesses with certainty on their obligations. 

Proof of cross-border transportation

Harmonising the proof of transport document rules for zero-rating intra- community supplies. 

Valid Customer VAT number 

Obliging suppliers to obtain a customers’ VAT number, and list it on the sales invoices, as a new substantive condition for zero-rated intra-community supplies. 


These changes will help reduce some compliance obligations for businesses operating cross-border supply chains. It will, however, place new administrative requirements on them to ensure they can continue to enjoy VAT simplifications, such as zero-rating on intra-community supplies. 


VP Global Indirect Tax
Richard Asquith
VP Global Indirect Tax Richard Asquith
Richard Asquith is VP Global Indirect Tax at Avalara, helping businesses understand their compliance obligations as they grow globally. He can be contacted at: richard.asquith@avalara.com. He is part of the European leadership team which won International Tax Review's 2019 Tax Technology Firm of the Year. Richard qualified as an accountant with KPMG in the UK, and went on to work in Hungary, Russia and France with EY.
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