So you didn’t complete your VAT obligations on time in an EU Member State, and you’re worried the authorities will apply late penalties? Check the limitation periods that apply in each of the 27 EU countries.
Limitation period, recovery period, what are we talking about?
The statute of limitations or recovery period is the period of time after which the tax authorities can no longer act to proceed with a tax adjustment for the taxpayer (individual or company) following an infraction.
The limitation periods for imposing fines, penalties and interest on arrears are not harmonized across European Union:
An overview of tax limitation periods in EU countries in 2022:
|Country||Limitation period||Limitation period starting date|
|Czech Republic||3 years||01/01/n+1|
|Estonia||3 years||Deadline for sending the VAT return|
|Latvia||3 years||Deadline for sending the VAT return|
|Slovenia||5 years||Deadline for sending the VAT return|
*This is the standard limitation period. Depending on the offence and its seriousness, the limitation period may be extended
Penalties and sanctions applicable to VAT
Fines, penalties and interest for late payment also differ for each country within the European Union. Thus, each EU country applies different penalties according to the infringement (not registering for VAT, late filing of VAT returns, errors on VAT returns, late payment of VAT etc.) and its own legislation.
Intra-Community VAT is a complicated subject and national regulations change frequently. Permanent monitoring, specific expertise and dedicated services are essential if you don’t want to risk misinerpreting the rules or missing and important deadline.