European Union finance ministers meeting in Luxembourg on October 2 reached several agreements on how to reform the bloc’s Value Added Tax (VAT) system.

“New figures released by the Commission just weeks ago show that member states are still losing €150bn in VAT each year,” said Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs following the agreements. “Today’s agreements are another step towards addressing that problem and changing VAT rules for the better. Now is the time to seize the momentum and agree on solutions for the more fundamental problems facing the system today.”

The measures agreed today include new rules to improve the day-to-day functioning of the current VAT system until the overall VAT reform strategy has been implemented. These so-called “quick fixes” should reduce compliance costs and increase legal certainty for businesses. Once the European Parliament has published its report on this file, the new rules should be enforceable by 2020.

According to a Commission press release, the ministers also agreed to boost cooperation on criminal VAT, which is a major source of revenue in the EU, fraud between national tax authorities and law enforcement authorities. VAT information and intelligence on organised gangs involved in the most serious cases of VAT fraud will now be shared systematically with EU enforcement bodies.