The central question in this article is whether digitalisation and technology can secure VAT revenues and close the VAT gap. By analysing the developments in this area, the authors distinguish the following so called e-blocks that are used or will be used to build a digital VAT environment: e-filing, e-accounting, e-auditing, e-matching of third-party information, e-payment, e-reporting, e-invoicing, and e-assessment.
Focus in general is to get more data and if possible (near) real-time. The authors conclude that digitalisation and technology do not take away the root causes of the VAT gap. Digitalisation and technology can be helpful to secure VAT revenues and close the VAT gap. However, not for all components of the VAT gap and all kinds of businesses to the same extent.
Taxes are the primary source of income of governments. The purpose of taxes is to finance public works and services. However, not all taxes due end up in the treasury of the government. The EU publishes, on an annual basis, studies on the VAT Gap in the EU. These studies describe the VAT Gap as:
The latest VAT Gap study (2021) shows a VAT Gap of € 134 billion in the EU over the year 2019. According to Paolo Gentiloni, Commissioner for Economy: