Afterword - Editions Larcier

Afterw or d
Paradoxically, VAT has become over the last 50 years a universal tax.
Despite this outstanding success, very few works have been devoted to
the tax; academic scholars seem reluctant to address the subject. With
the thesis of Charlène Herbain, we are faced with a daring work whose
purpose is to explore the different facets of the central subject: VAT
neutrality. The work succeeds in explaining beautifully the merits of
such a principle; it describes its different meanings and its present limits.
The author, paying tribute to Maurice Lauré -­who was first in having
a VAT system applied -­explains thoroughly how the concept of VAT
itself emerged and how the principle of neutrality is, in itself, central and
fundamental to the very logics of the tax. The work has the great merit of
showing how this principle has overcome the different attacks launched
against it by the tax administrations. Going hand-­in-­hand with the fractionated payment of the tax, the principle of Neutrality has become the
very foundation of the tax, being now protected by strong, repetitive
jurisprudence of the European court of justice. The work, through constant reference to the jurisprudence, illustrates perfectly how the European
court of justice can protect businesses in their function of tax collectors.
EU VAT, having conquered the internal market, the EU model being copied
the world over, is now facing new challenges. How can the EU model adapt
in order to be internally more efficient, to eradicate fraud and to make the
different tax administrations more cooperative; the ultimate ambitious aim
being to create a common tax, belonging to each tax administration of
the member states. By adopting the destination principle together with the
« unique place of declaration » the EU institutions have launched a new
challenge for the next generation to implement successfully. With Charlène
Herbain’s work, the guidelines to such a successful path now exist.
Jean-­Claude Bouchard
Lawyer, Membre of the VAT
Expert Group of the European Commission and
Lecturer at the Université de Bourgogne
P R O M O C U L T U R E – L A R C I E R
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