VAT Anti-fraud Policy, Third Party Liability, and the Rule of Law

Professor Rita de la Feria will be speaking about VAT fraud across Europe.

This is a free event however registration is required in advance. There will be a drinks reception after the lecture.

The size of VAT fraud across Europe is said to be extremely high. It is therefore unsurprising that the last few years have seen a strengthening of VAT anti-fraud policy across most Member States, with an upsurge in both legislative and administrative measures adopted at both national and EU level. These measures have essentially taken two forms, namely measures to combat the VAT fraud and evasion phenomenon, and measures to counter the costs of VAT fraud. Amongst the later are measures focussing primarily on the transfer of liability to third parties, and their responsabilisation for the enforcement of the tax law. Anti-fraud policy appears to be no longer regarded solely as a deterrent or as a form of punishment, but as an additional source of revenue, or a compensatory measure for the revenue lost through fraud. These developments are evidence of a significant shift in VAT anti-fraud, motivated by public finance concerns; a shift from crime suppression to crime management.

Professor Rita de la Feria received her law degree from the University of Lisbon (1999), and did her PhD at the University of Dublin, Trinity College (2006), after a brief career in practice, working in the Lisbon and Dublin offices of Arthur Andersen. Prior to joining the School of Law at Leeds University, she was the Chair in Tax Law at Durham University, and had previously held positions at Oxford University, and Queen’s University Belfast.

Her research focus primarily on tax law and policy – particularly on the intersection between tax law and EU law, but increasingly also on the intersection between tax law and public economics, and between tax law and criminology – and she has published widely on that area. This research is regularly cited by courts across Europe, and has supported various policy documents emerging from EU and international institutions, and from national Governments. She was VAT Adviser to the Portuguese Government (2011-2012), and to the East Timor Government (2015-2016); she is currently advising the Governments of São Tomé and Príncipe and Angola on the introduction of VAT in both countries, under the auspices of the IMF. She was listed in the Global Tax 50 2015, by the International Tax Review, and was co-recipient of the 2016 Outstanding Women in Tax Award, by Tax Analysts.