Our goals

VAT Forum gathers, manages and distributes information on indirect taxation from around the world. Expert partners and associates gather the information and then follow up on changes in matters of indirect taxation in their own country and provide VAT Forum with this information for sharing.

Although there is a large amount of information on VAT available world-wide, it is not easily accessible to those wishing to use and consult on it, because it has never been properly organised. VAT Forum manages this information, making it accessible to all who need it.

VAT Forum regularly organises discussion groups and publicizes the outcome of these discussions. The information is distributed to its members by various means as soon as it is available.

One way of distributing information is through our international newsletters.

The newsletters offer an overview of changes and innovations in indirect tax legislation in Europe and the rest of the world and is sent to members by e-mail. Fast distribution is a priority, because for most companies, indirect taxation is of the utmost importance.

VAT and customs legislation is very complex. Some companies are already aware of this, while others are not. VAT Forum provides assistance to those of its members who are not yet familiar with international VAT and customs legislation to help them understand its complexity and to develop certain basic skills.

For those who already have considerable experience with indirect taxation, VAT Forum organises on a regular basis events to perfect their skills.

VAT Forum is also active in the field of research into indirect taxation, because this is necessary to manage large projects. In most cases, research is the basis for further discussion, conferences and lobbying.

National VAT authorities, the European Commission and other international legislative institutions are often not aware that some rules create immense problems, complexities, and inconsistencies for companies.

Therefore, VAT Forum makes proposals to these institutions that simplify these rules, so as to reduce the uncertainty and problems companies are confronted with concerning indirect taxation. Indeed, this may contribute to making some countries, or even Europe as a whole, more investor-friendly.

VAT Forum Board

President: Patrick Wille
Managing Director: Marja Van den Oetelaar
Director: Alexis Tsielepis
Director: Isabelle Desmeytere

Our Online Courses

VAT Forum organizes online courses on indirect taxation on a monthly basis

  • VAT topics such as e-commerce, chain transactions, financial services, work on tangible property, customs and many other subjects
  • New country-specific and European legislation
  • Changes in national and European legislation
  • Doing Business in …

Discussion Groups

Members can ask VAT Forum to set up a discussion group on a particular subject that is challenging them or their clients. When VAT Forum receives an application from a member to set up a discussion group, VAT Forum will contact all its members to find out whether any are interested in debating the subject. If so, VAT Forum will ensure that these people are brought together. The subject to be discussed can be a national or international matter. The discussion group will be chaired by a partner or associate of VAT Forum who is an expert in the subject on hand.

The participating members will discuss the subject in depth, in order to come to a solution or proposal. If necessary, VAT Forum will lobby to have the proposal or solution implemented by the relevant tax authority.

Existing subjects for discussion groups are:

  • Keeping records and accounts. This is a national issue. In some countries, legislation requires records to be retained for a very long period of time, which causes substantial problems for a lot of companies.
  • Electronic invoicing. This is an international issue. Some countries do have some legislation, others do not. Still, having legislation is not enough: there should be uniformity in the legislation between different countries, as most companies trade across borders.


Effective research is essential, and this is an important part of the work carried out by VAT Forum. When trying to find a solution for certain problems, detailed research needs to be carried out in advance. Preparing a discussion group, organising a conference or an international school on indirect taxation, all require preliminary research on the relevant issues.

Of course, VAT Forum is always willing to co-operate with universities and other research institutes.

Annual Internation VAT Conference

Each year, VAT Forum organises an International VAT Conference. This International Conference will have a central theme. During this conference, different VAT or customs experts will speak on that theme. Country-specific aspects of the main subject will always be dealt with by speakers from the relevant country. These speakers might be experts, academics or officials.

EU VAT Expert Degree

There is an increasing demand for well-trained VAT specialists to fill the positions of VAT managers or VAT directors in multinational companies.

Their task mainly consists of co-ordinating VAT questions at European level, and answering those questions where possible.

Because there is no appropriate degree programme available at European universities, the management team of VAT Forum cv decided to meet this need themselves and so they organised the “Expert in European VAT” degree for the first time in 2004.

VAT Forum runs a bi-annual programme that can lead to an ‘Expert in European VAT’ degree after completing 210 course hours and passing the necessary exams.

To date, 71 participants have obtained the ‘EU VAT Expert’ certificate.