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VAT fraud is double what the Tax Agency claims

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Commission says VAT fraud is twice as high as that recognised by the tax authorities

"Although VAT revenue collection shows signs of improvement, the missing amounts are still unacceptably high,"said the Commission in a statement

Spain managed to halve the gap in VAT collection in 2015, to 3.52%, which means that the Treasury received 2,503 million euros less than it should with this tax, which that year contributed 68,589 million euros to the State coffers.
Spain has reduced the gap in the last four years from 13% in 2011 to 8.3% in 2014 and 3.52% in 2015.

It follows that the Tax Agency has stopped paying 2,503 million euros of Value Added Tax (VAT), which represented 3.5% of what should have been collected in that period, according to data provided this Thursday by the European Commission. And it did so as a result of tax fraud, i. e. fraudulent activities, evasion, corporate bankruptcies or statistical errors, among other reasons.

However, this amount is much higher than the amount that the tax authorities estimate has stopped obtaining for VAT fraud, which amounts to some 1.12 billion euros, or 1.6% of what should have been paid for this tax. It is practically half of what the European Union's analysis assigns to it. Thus, a' gap' is created between one statistic and another of 1,383 million euros.

The Tax Agency points out that the only reason why the Commission does not directly include the calculations made by Spain is that it is impossible to compare the figures, since the other countries have not provided other calculations carried out using the same methodology as Spain.

Taking into account the data provided by Brussels, Spain has managed to reduce the amount lost due to VAT fraud by more than 3,254 million in a single year, which represents an improvement of 56%. And if we take 2011 as a reference, the better performance of VAT receipts compared to what was expected has meant an increase of 70%, or more than 6,119 million in absolute terms.

On the other hand, the European Union as a whole lost close to 152 billion in VAT revenue in 2015, an amount that represents 12.8% of the total amount that should have been collected by all EU countries, its lowest level since 2011. Spain is, together with Sweden, Hungary and Estonia, among the least losers, against Romania, Slovakia, Greece and Lithuania

Josep Navarro's picture
Josep Navarro es Licenciado en Económicas por la UB, especializado en Inspecciones Tributarias, con más de 25 años de experiencia en asesoría fiscal para empresas y particulares en España.