The European Union and Norway this week signed an agreement that will provide EU member states and Norway with a legal framework for administrative cooperation in preventing VAT fraud and assisting each other in the recovery of VAT claims.

The agreement follows the same structure that is currently used for cooperation between the member states and the same instruments, such as electronic platforms and e-forms. Fraud schemes often exploit weaknesses in the way VAT transaction chains are controlled when they include counterparts located in third countries.

Norway is the first country with which the EU has an agreement in this field. A member of the European Economic Area, it has a VAT system similar to the European Union and enjoys a good tradition of VAT cooperation with the EU member states.

The text was signed on behalf of the EU, by Vladislav Goranov, minister for finance of Bulgaria; and on behalf of Norway, by Siv Jensen, minister for finance of Norway. The agreement was negotiated by the Commission on the basis of the mandate agreed by the Council in December 2014.

The legal framework for VAT cooperation between the member states is set by regulation 904/2010 on VAT administrative cooperation and preventing fraud; and directive 2010/24/EU on mutual assistance in the recovery of tax claims.