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VATglobal launches VAT knowledge portal

International VAT consultancy VATglobal has launched a new one-stop knowledge base shedding light on the complexities of European VAT.

30th Oct 2019
Staff Writer AccountingWEB
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VAT globe
Ievgeniiya Ocheretna

After a decade in the sector, VATglobal built an online reference library drawing on the expertise of team members with more than 100 years of VAT experience. The result is vlearn, a cloud portal it has opened to the wider profession to improve access to important VAT legislation and case law.

The annual subscription fee starts at £3,000 for 1-3 users and scales up according to the number of users and number of modules used. VATglobal is so confident it is offering a month's free trial of the service to demonstrate how useful it is. VATglobal CEO Gareth Kobrin was “so confident people will realise the benefits” of the software that they will be happy to take the annual subscription.

“We need VAT information internally - we use it more than anyone. So we built vlearn to be the most practical and user-friendly tool we could,” he said.

“VAT is one of the most complicated forms of tax, with a multitude of legislation and nuances, but there was no single source that provided up-to-date information in a way that made it easy to access.” 

How it works

Along with the usual text search functionality, the database can be searched by categories, topics and industries. The portal offers a consistent user experience, summarising each section with the key facts, a detailed explanation of the technical issues, practical examples, case studies and references to case laws. 

“It is completely hyperlinked throughout the portal, so while you are reading up on one particular topic, it's very easy to navigate another topic and return to the original item,” Kobrin added.

Vlearn “encompasses the whole scope of the VAT industry” from VAT returns to complicated areas like transactions across borders in the EU. 

Vlearn includes material on specific industries such as manufacturing and e-commerce, which Kobrin describes as vlearn’s “real game changer”. Extra content is continually updated in response to new VAT legislation and user requests. 

The VAT beast

According to Kobrin, VAT legislation “is an evolving, moving beast” complicated by Brexit and real-time reporting initiatives such as MTD and international moves to online registers where transactions have to be lodged with tax authorities.

“Because tax offices are moving to real-time reporting, we are almost having to move to real-time education of our clients,” he said.

To cope with Brexit, vlearn has a dedicated section that is updated as new information emerges. Currently, the UK is beholden to EU VAT directives, so the UK will eventually have to redraft all its VAT legislation when it leaves. VATglobal will continue to track pending VAT changes in the UK and the 27 other EU countries and update vlearn with relevant information on their significance, impact and potential action to be taken. 

VATglobal intends to follow legislation changes as tax moves towards digitalisation, focusing on the intricacies of EU VAT, which has 28 countries in one jurisdiction.

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