The purpose of the seminar has been to update the knowledge and skills in the field of VAT of the executives operating in the banking sector, focusing on the important interaction between European VAT law (including European case-law) and Romanian VAT law.
One of the highlights of the event was the presentation of a prominent EU VAT expert, Mr. Ben Terra, Partner collaborator with EY Netherlands. At present, Prof. dr. dr. h. c. Ben Terra teaches indirect tax and European tax law at the University of Lund, Sweden. Mr. Ben Terra is also lecturing at universities in Austria, Switzerland, and Portugal. A well-known specialist in EU VAT reform, Mr. Ben Terra was involved in reorganizing tax departments, drafting law and training tax officials from various countries.
The seminar held today focuses primarily on the impact of EU case-law on the banking and financial services sector in the light of a number of recent judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). CJEU is a European institution issuing by its decisions (directly applicable in Romania, under certain conditions) interpretations of EU law and principles, ensuring uniform application and interpretation of EU law throughout Member States.
Regarding the overall impact of VAT on the financial and banking sector, Prof. dr. dr. h.c. Ben Terra says: "In VAT of course Banks want rather to be taxed than exempt, since they understand the paradox in VAT that who is exempt is taxed and who is taxed is exempt!"
Addressing the approach of the Romanian financial and banking industry towards VAT, Jean-Marc Cambien, Tax Partner with EY Romania, says: "Besides a consumption tax, VAT is a leverage that can be used beneficially by banks to achieve a balance between the aim of VAT exemptions in financial and banking services and the need to minimize tax costs. Practice shows that in Romania there are still opportunities to use the existing VAT law in an efficient (but compliant) way."
He went on to say that given the increased pressure of fiscal costs, there is a need in the banking and financial services sector to understand how EU law and CJEU case-law apply to Romanian banks and to identify ways for immediate practical implementation.
Many executives and tax specialists from the most important banks in Romania have attended the seminar organized today.