In a recent interview, the managing director of Vistra’s Reading, UK office said of operating internationally: “VAT and indirect taxes look deceptively simple but can go horribly wrong on a small detail, especially with cross-border transactions.” The bottom line is that if your organization operates abroad or is considering international expansion, you’ll have to understand and follow the indirect tax laws of each country of operation. Failure to comply with VAT rules, or to understand your entitlements under local law, can lead to additional costs, unanticipated tax liabilities, potentially needless VAT registrations and of course financial penalties.
In any tax system, a high level of certainty is required for both ease of tax administration and the efficient collection of tax liabilities. Likewise, for companies and their stakeholders, domestic and international tax-related certainty is a fundamental goal. The UK’s EU referendum and potential exit from the European Union represent serious threats to this desired stability. And the biggest challenge businesses will face from a potential “Brexit” will be negotiating the resulting uncertainty.