VAT & indirect tax

VAT and indirect taxes need careful planning as they make up an ever-larger part of the tax take

Governments worldwide have shifted taxation to VAT and other indirect taxes over recent years to stabilise their tax base.

Not at least due to the increasing attention paid by the tax authorities at national and international level, VAT and indirect taxes have gained in importance for internationally operating companies in particular. Increasing complexity, caused mainly by a constant change in jurisdiction and legislation, as well as a partial lack of harmonisation across EU member states, not only make it more difficult to assess any special issues correctly for the purposes of indirect taxes, but also to fulfill the worldwide VAT and indirect tax obligations in the day-to-day business. Moreover, it has already become obvious that the COVID-19 crisis will have an impact on the sourcing of businesses – with a number of VAT and indirect tax issues.

With companies facing high penalties (including personal fines for the management of companies) for non-compliance, VAT and indirect taxes have risen up the corporate agenda.

We offer the support you need to meet your VAT and indirect tax obligations.

Typical areas of risk for businesses: 

  • VAT groups, especially monitoring the respective requirements (e.g. internal guidelines, changes of managing directors)
  • Implications of EU Action Plan, e.g. ‘Quick fixes’ 2020, e-commerce package 2021, final VAT system 2022
  • Warehouse concepts and its VAT/customs issues
  • Chain transactions, e.g. allocation of ‘moveable supply’, application of triangulation rule
  • Importation of goods (e.g. tariff codes, deduction of import VAT)
  • Qualification as VAT entrepreneur, especially in holding structures
  • Input VAT deduction (e.g. VAT group, holding, valid VAT invoices, pro-rata)
  • Sales structures and its VAT implications, e.g. ‘buy and sell’, commission model, agency structure, relationship headquarter and permanent establishment
  • Transfer pricing amendments and its implications from a VAT and customs point of view

Our approach  

VAT and indirect taxes are transaction driven, complex, and can have a major impact on your bottom line. At Forvis Mazars, we can help with VAT and indirect taxation across the whole business lifecycle, from when your company is formed through to detailed structuring of transactions and assistance in terms of litigation. 

International cooperation is particularly important in the field of VAT and indirect taxes. Therefore, besides your regular partner responsible for the mandate, your allocated VAT and/or indirect tax expert is available to answer all your questions concerning VAT and indirect taxes and is available as sparring partner where needed. We have deep national and international expertise from a team of tax consultants, specialist lawyers for tax law as well as auditors and management consultants. Our 'Global Indirect Tax Group' comprises a worldwide network of specialists who advise companies exclusively in the field of indirect taxes, e.g. VAT and customs, foreign trade law and excise duties.  

Due to our presence in almost all European countries and worldwide in all major economic centers, we solve your VAT and indirect challenges and help you to fulfil your respective obligations - wherever you are. 

While customs law is European law, harmonised by the EU Customs Code, VAT and other indirect taxes are affected by court rulings and changes in legislation of both, national and international significance. This makes it even more important to have an internationally positioned team of experts at your side to keep you constantly up to date of any changes.  

Our services

  • Full service advisory services on general or specific customs and VAT issues
  • Identifying and managing VAT and indirect tax risks
  • Dealing with customs and indirect tax litigation issues due to non-compliance or investigation 
  • VAT/customs audit support and VAT/customs scan
  • VAT and indirect tax compliance impact on supply chain management and business model optimisation (BMO)
  • Advising on VAT and indirect tax issues during the M&A process (incl. due diligences and drafting/checking VAT clauses)
  • VAT group cross-check’ – an analysis of your group structure and processes
  • VAT risk management concepts, including advisory in terms of tax compliance management systems (TCMS)
  • VAT and indirect tax advisory connected with Brexit
  • VAT and indirect tax consultancy as interface between VAT/customs law and criminal tax law
  • Representation during appeal and finance court proceedings
  • VAT advisory services in connection with IT implementations (e. g. review of tax codes, SAP S/4 HANA)
  • VAT and customs compliance and outsourcing
  • National and international staff training, upon request customised for the various functional areas of your company (e.g. sales, procurement, accounting)
  • VAT reviews (‘Health Checks’, ‘Digital VAT Scan’)
  • Preparation of (electronic) handbooks, in particular for use at the marketing and sales level (‘conscious contract design’)
  • Consultancy in respect to export control compliance
  • Assistance with applications for binding tariff information (BTI) and Authorized Economic Operator (AEO)

Our tools & solutions

  • VAT comparison tool: Our VAT comparison tool offers our clients the opportunity to gain information of country specific VAT jurisdictions. This enables businesses to get an initial idea of the VAT  
  • VAT-ID verifier tool: A fully integrated software solution. We offer you a solution whichever you need: Quickly and personally via our Managed Service, simply and permanently online via our self-service or seamlessly automated through ERP integration. We will help you to find the best solution for you
  • Signals/InControl: Our VAT and indirect tax team uses a range of globally accessible tools, e.g. our communication platform Signals and the dashboard InControl
  • Customised IT tool development: We appreciate on-going and close contact with our clients. In terms of IT tools and solutions, we focus on developing products on market demand, preferably together with our clients     

Our people  

As their importance rises, VAT and indirect taxes are becoming increasingly complex.  

Forvis Mazars’ Global VAT and Indirect Tax Group is well prepared to assist you: quickly, competently and practically oriented. Our VAT and indirect tax team takes a proactive, integrated and solutions-based approach with decision guidance.  

We have in-depth expertise for industries facing complex, cross-border VAT and indirect tax issues such as real estate, energy, health care and automotive.   

Our VAT and indirect tax experts are regular contributors to specialist publications and active as lecturers – locally and abroad, internally and externally. In addition, we prepare our own specialised publications. 

We regularly offer our clients the opportunity to exchange and network with representatives from industry, financial administration, associations and Forvis Mazars experts at international conferences (e.g. International Tax Conference, Global VAT and Indirect Tax Client Conference).