Farmers are often exempted from VAT for administrative and political reasons. But this means that the VAT on their inputs cannot be ‘washed out’ through the tax deduction/credit mechanism. To compensate farmers for the uncompensated VAT on inputs, the EU has devised a flat-rate scheme that permits them to charge a presumptive rate (approximately equal to the effective VAT rate on sector-wide inputs) on their sales to taxable agro-processing firms. The flat-rate scheme is an arbitrary way of trying to achieve equal treatment. Full taxation, subject to the general threshold, appears to be the preferred choice.
VAT agriculture European union flat-rate compensation scheme reduced rates incidence