Your company could be taken for a ride by VAT carousel fraud
Carousel fraud involves a company that is registered for VAT in one EU Member State selling goods to another company that is registered for VAT in a different EU Member State (the UK, in this example). The Overseas Seller then claims VAT refunds in its own Member State for any VAT which it paid when buying the goods for export. The Importer, meanwhile, does not have to pay any VAT on goods imported from another EU Member State, but it will charge VAT when it resells the goods to a VAT registered company in the same Member State. “VAT carousel” fraud now also commonly known as “missing trader intra-community” fraud has been around for many years.
Britain is the main target in Europe of so-called carousel fraud, losing an estimated 2 billion to 3 billion pounds in potential tax incomes between 2005-6, according to HM Revenue and Customs. Until now, carousel fraud has mainly been limited to mobile phones, computer chips and electronic devices like MP3 players. In this type of fraud, the first link in the chain often goes missing without accounting for the VAT. The final link in the chain reclaims the VAT it has paid from the government before disappearing.
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Source: Reuters FACTBOX