Tax Technology Education

VAT is everywhere

Value-added tax (VAT) also known as GST (goods and services tax) has recently become a strategic focus of many enterprises. VAT and GST can be found in so many business transactions that it affects almost every department of a company, especially since the percentage of VAT charged can be from 5 to 27 percent of the invoice amount – a significant cost when considering a company’s foreign business expenses.

VAT and GST (hereinafter referred to as VAT)  is applied on regular travel expenses such as hotels, car rental, and meals, as well as for Accounts Payable invoices, which may easily carry up to thousands of Euros in foreign VAT for intercompany meetings, intercompany recharges, trade fairs, tooling and customer events.

VAT is also levied when a business imports goods into Europe for onward supply in the EU, imports and maintains an inventory of goods in a European location, operates a local subsidiary or even sells electronically-delivered software, games or music to private individuals in Europe…. As we enter 2020, VAT is simply everywhere.

Tax rates around the world

VAT Rates in Europe

Weighing in on this phenomenon are VAT experts from multiple industries who were interviewed about global VAT developments for VATBox’s ”Industry Leaders Reveal” series. Remco Dewaerheijt, VP Tax & Product Strategy for VATBox, met with  these industry leaders and encouraged them to share their personal views and experiences with VAT as well as their thoughts on the future of the industry. As an  in-house VAT expert and tax lawyer, Remco leads the discussion about how VAT can be found in every area of the business.

Bas de Koning, EME Indirect Tax Manager at Bayer Crop Science, has been involved in VAT and other Indirect Tax matters for more than 20 years. Starting as an adviser with Big 4 tax advisory firm in the Netherlands, and later as in-house VAT expert and manager, he has built up extensive experience with and knowledge of global indirect tax issues in day-to-day practice within multinational companies. Bas shared, “When I first started doing VAT, I had my interview with a partner from EY at that time, and he said, ‘Just look outside and you see VAT.’ And I, at that moment, didn’t believe him, but now I do look outside and I do see VAT. It’s just everywhere you look.”

Ilona van den Eijnde, Global Trade & Indirect Tax Advisor at E&Y, advises national and international clients regarding Customs, International Trade and Indirect Tax. She is a member of the fiscal litigation advisory group, assisting colleagues of various service lines with their fiscal litigation matters (objections & appeals to tax assessments), and advising clients on risks and opportunities. Ilona is also a university teacher and involved in further developing the new master (LL.M & Msc) fully dedicated to indirect taxes, including the guidance of master thesis students throughout the year. Ilona agrees that VAT can be found in so many areas that VAT resources must “understand the IT language and make sure that they know how to connect with other departments within the company, not only IT but also HR and logistics and all departments.”

Jeroen Lassche is an EMEA VAT Manager, responsible for the in-house tax operations for a US-based biotechnology product development company with revenues of more than $24 billion and approximately 70,000 employees globally. He believes that VAT is critically important to an enterprise’s bottom line and sees part of his role as “creating awareness in the company about how important VAT’s impact can be if things are not set up properly.”

Click here to read and listen Remco Dewaerheijt, VATBox’s VP Tax & Product Strategy interview with Bas de Koning, EME Indirect Tax Manager at Bayer Crop Science.

If you are interested in participating in our “Industry Leaders Reveal” interview series, contact us at

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