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Tax limitation periods for VAT in the European Union in 2022

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.

To check if your activity in Europe carries VAT obligations: use our VAT simulator, consult our Intra-Community VAT guides or VAT by sectors guide, or simply, contact us.

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:

CountryLimitation periodLimitation period starting date
Austria5 years01/01/n+1
Belgium3 years01/01/n+1
Bulgaria5 years01/01/n+1
Croatia6 years01/01/n+2
Cyprus6 years01/01/n+1
Czech Republic3 years01/01/n+1
Denmark5 years01/05/n+1
Estonia3 yearsDeadline for sending the VAT return
Finland3 years01/01/n+1
France3 years01/01/n+1
Germany4 years01/01/n+2
Greece5 years01/01/n+1
Hungary5 years01/01/n+1
Ireland4 years01/01/n+1
Italy6 years01/01/n+1
Latvia3 yearsDeadline for sending the VAT return
Lithuania3 years01/01/n+1
Luxembourg5 years01/01/n+1
Malta6 years01/01/n+1
Netherlands5 years01/01/n+1
Poland5 years01/01/n+1
Portugal4 years01/01/n+1
Romania5 years01/01/n+1
Slovakia5 years01/01/n+1
Slovenia5 yearsDeadline for sending the VAT return
Spain4 years01/01/n+1
Sweden6 years01/01/n+1

*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.

Expert tip

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.



Rely on our experts to manage your international VAT obligations.

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