This year’s IOTA Forum on Combating VAT Fraud took place on 16th-17th June 2021, intending to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on members’ strategies for combating VAT frauds. The two-day event welcomed 180 participants from 34 IOTA member countries and partner organisations.
Emergency measures introduced in response to the COVID-19 crisis have created new opportunities for fraudsters resulting in new risky sectors and new fraudulent schemes (such as fraudulent supplies of medical or protective equipment, new ways of business that might facilitate fraud, changes in delivery patterns as well as payments, etc.) that need to be closely monitored to safeguard revenue. The Forum meeting also explored new VAT fraud trends, in particular VAT frauds facilitated by the use of alternative payment systems and money laundering (e.g. cryptocurrencies, alternative payment platforms, abuses of escrow accounts, etc.).
During the first day of the event, the Forum’s Subgroup coordinator presented the latest IOTA report to participants, titled “How to detect, prevent and combat new VAT fraud schemes facilitated by the digital platforms in selling goods”. The report is available for IOTA members on our website.
The next plenary session of Day 1 ran under the theme ’Impact of COVID-19: new ways of doing business and new opportunities of doing fraud’ with presentations from Luxembourg, Slovenia, Germany and Finland. During the third plenary session, presentations from the United Kingdom, Belgium and Azerbaijan explored the topic ’New VAT fraud trends, in particular VAT frauds using alternative payment systems and money laundering’. Both plenary sessions were followed by a Q&A session.
The important topic of the new VAT fraud trends was further discussed on Day 2 with country presentations from France and Sweden.
A virtual group discussion session was organised on Day 2 allowing participants to share their administration’s experience and reflect on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic for anti-fraud strategy, future risks, and new auditing and controlling activities as a consequence of the pandemic crisis as well as further discuss the new VAT fraud trends, in particular, VAT frauds using alternative payment systems.
Last but not least, international enforcement agencies contributed to the Forum discussion by sharing their experience on some of the Forum’s topics. The organisations presenting included the OECD, Europol, and the European Commission – OLAF. Following a Q&A session and a Group Discussion, a Panel Debate concluded this year’s Forum meeting.
The presentations, group discussion notes, and the recording of the event are available for registered IOTA website users on the event page.