Fortunately most entrepreneurs pay their VAT in good order. But we also track down fraudsters, who deliberately fail to do so, on a regular basis.
Not only is VAT fraud damaging to public finances, it is also damaging to the bona fide business community. This is why we tackle VAT fraud so vigorously to prevent it from happening and put a stop to it as soon as we can.
Particularly annoying for you
For you as an entrepreneur there may be some annoying consequences if you come into contact with VAT fraud. You may then find, for example, that you have problems with your own deduction of VAT, or become involved in a fraud investigation.
What should you watch out for?
It is possible to become involved in VAT fraud completely unintentionally! You should be particularly careful if the transaction seems too good to be true! How can you avoid becoming unwittingly involved in VAT fraud?
You should also be alert to the following signals:
- the price is surprisingly low
- there is something wrong with the invoice, or there is an essential piece of information missing from the invoice (the telephone number or address for example)
- customers or suppliers have only existed for a short period, or keep switching
- the products are not appropriate to the sector in which the supplier operates
- often it is small, high value goods that are involved, or goods that are relatively expensive
- the product does not have to be physical; it may also be an intangible product such as minutes of call time or services
- a new entrepreneur who is immediately ready to do business involving large amounts of money or large consignments
- your supplier tells you who you can sell the goods on to, and at what price
- suppliers who often change their products, or switch to a completely different sector
For example they may add a new activity to their normal business which is so completely different that it seems odd.
These are not the only signals which may indicate fraud. Often there is a combination of signals. Always consider them in the context of any other signals you have received. You should also rely on your own intuition and experience as an entrepreneur. Have you noticed one or more of the above-mentioned signals? And were the answers unsatisfactory when you started asking questions about them? If you have serious doubts you should make further inquiries to check that your customer, your supplier, or the transaction in question is valid!
Report possible fraud
Do you suspect VAT fraud? Report your suspicions at firstname.lastname@example.org.