Unpaid tax collectors: the ‘public’ function of private parties in EU VAT

Frank Nellen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This contribution centres on the legal position of private parties ('VAT entrepreneurs') who are tasked with the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) on behalf of the public authorities. The author discusses the main characteristics of the EU VAT system, and concludes that the VAT entrepreneurs do not have at their disposal any of the investigative competences that traditional fiscal public bodies such as the tax authorities enjoy (e.g. the possibility of instigating tax audits). As such, they are exposed to the risk of not having sufficient information to apply VAT to their transactions in line with the legal requirements - potentially leading to double taxation, non-taxation, and other adversities. The central research aim of this contribution is to establish whether VAT entrepreneurs should, with regard to their 'public' function as unpaid tax collectors, enjoy information procurement prerogatives similar to those enjoyed by conventional tax authorities. To that end, the author explores various options to reinforce the information procurement capabilities of VAT entrepreneurs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)491-513
JournalEuropean Public Law
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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