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

On 7 February 2017, Professor Rita de la Feria delivered her inaugural lecture, after joining the School of Law in 2016.

Professor de la Feria’s research focuses 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 IN 2015 AND 2016, by the International Tax Review, and was co-recipient of the 2016 Outstanding Women in Tax Award, by Tax Analysts.

Professor 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.

In her inaugural lecture, Professor de la Feria discussed VAT fraud, proposing a new typology of fraud, and a new approach to determining its costs. She then considered the new global trends in anti-fraud policy, such as use of new technologies, formalism, and the transfer of liability to third-parties. She concluded that some of these developments are evidence of significant shift in VAT anti-fraud policy from crime suppression to crime management, and considered the risks this shift represents to the rule of law.