Statute of limitations in Europe

The statute of limitations determines how far can you go back in time to deduct VAT on invoices received.

The statute of limitations determines how far can you go back in time to deduct VAT on invoices received. Likewise, it also determines how far can the tax authorities go back on invoices issued to request the payment of VAT.

For example, if today is 20 February 2019 you find an AP invoice dated 20 February 2015 in a country where the statute of limitations is 3 years, you will not be able to claim VAT back on this invoice. If, however, this invoice corresponds to a country where the statute of limitations is 5 years, you will be able to claim this VAT back.

  • Austria

    • Prescription period for VAT
      Five years
    • Extended prescription period
      Ten years in case of tax evasion
  • Belgium

    • Prescription period for VAT
      Three years
    • Extended prescription period
      Five to six years in case of fraud / Seven years in case of special circumstances (Intra-EU transactions,…)
  • Bulgaria

    • Prescription period for VAT
      Five years following the year in which the VAT became due
    • Extended prescription period
      10 years
  • Croatia

    • Prescription period for VAT
      Six years following the end of the year in which the tax liability arose
    • Extended prescription period
      N/A
  • Cyprus

    • Prescription period for VAT
      Six years
    • Extended prescription period
      12 years in case of a fraud or an intentional failure of the person liable to VAT
  • Czech Republic

    • Prescription period for VAT
      Three years
    • Extended prescription period
      Ten years
  • Denmark

    • Prescription period for VAT
      1 May in the fourth calendar year after that of the end of the relevant accounting period
    • Extended prescription period
      This period can be extended to 10 years in case of fraud or gross negligence
  • Estonia

    • Prescription period for VAT
      Three years
    • Extended prescription period
      Six years in case of fraud/ Five years in case of Tax evasion
  • Finland

    • Prescription period for VAT
      Three years after the end of the financial year
    • Extended prescription period
      In case certain criteria are met the period can be extended to four or six years
  • France

    • Prescription period for VAT
      Three years (end of third yeard following the year in which VAT was deductible)
    • Extended prescription period
      Ten years in case of hidden activity or in the case of "flagrance fiscale"
  • Germany

    • Prescription period for VAT
      Four years, starting with December 31 of the year in which the annual VAT return was filed, at the latest starting three years after the year in which the VAT became due. If no annual VAT return was filed: Seven years (Three+Four).
    • Extended prescription period
      Five years in case of involuntary tax evasion / Ten years in case of voluntary tax evasion, starting with December 31 of the year in which the annual VAT return was filed, at the latest starting three years after the year in which the VAT became due. If no annual VAT return was filed: 8, resp. 13 years.
  • Greece

    • Prescription period for VAT
      Five years following the end of the year during which the deadline for the filing of the annual/cumulative VAT return was set (reference to Greek VAT Code)
    • Extended prescription period
      20 years in case of tax evasion
  • Hungary

    • Prescription period for VAT
      Five years
    • Extended prescription period
      N/A
  • Ireland

    • Prescription period for VAT
      Four years from the end of the VATable period to which the assessment relates.
    • Extended prescription period
      There is not limit in case of fraud or neglect
  • Italy

    • Prescription period for VAT
      December 311 of the 5th year following the year in which the annual VAT return was due (i.e. Six years after taxable period)
    • Extended prescription period
      In case of omitted return, December 31 of the Seventh year following the year in which the annual VAT return should have been due
  • Latvia

    • Prescription period for VAT
      Three years
    • Extended prescription period
      Can be extended in case of fraud
  • Lithuania

    • Prescription period for VAT
      Five years
    • Extended prescription period
      Ten years in case of fraud or tax evasion
  • Luxembourg

    • Prescription period for VAT
      Five years after the year in which the VAT became due
    • Extended prescription period
      Ten years if no return is filed/ Can be longer in case of interruption by a Civil action or in case the taxable person agrees to extend the period on a request of the VAT Authorities
  • Malta

    • Prescription period for VAT
      Six years from the end of the relevant tax period
    • Extended prescription period
      Eigth years in case of fraud or tax evasion
  • Nehterlands

    • Prescription period for VAT
      Five years  after the year in which the VAT became due
    • Extended prescription period
      12 years in case of the acquisition of economic ownership of immovable property or of rights therof
  • Norway

    • Prescription period for VAT
      Five years
    • Extended prescription period
      Ten years in case of serious fraud
  • Poland

    • Prescription period for VAT
      Output VAT - Five years after the year in which the VAT became due
      Input VAT - Five years from the beginning of the year in which the right to deduct input VAT occurred
    • Extended prescription period
      It is not possible to extend prescription period as such but it may be suspended (the time under the suspension is not calculated to the prescription period) or it can be terminated (then the prescription period is counted from the beginning)
  • Portugal

    • Prescription period for VAT
      Four years (counted from the beginning of the year that follows the one where the VAT became due)
    • Extended prescription period
      Twelve years in case of facts that relate to deposit and securities accounts infinancial institutions outside the EU.
      In situations where a criminal investigation was opened, the statute of limitations is extended until the closing of the process or res judicata effect of the decision, plus one year.
  • Romania

    • Prescription period for VAT
      Five years after the year in which the VAT became due
    • Extended prescription period
      Ten years in case of fraud
  • Slovakia

    • Prescription period for VAT
      Five years
    • Extended prescription period
      May be extended Ten years
  • Slovenia

    • Prescription period for VAT
      Five years after the date when the tax was due (Ten years is absolute limitation period)
    • Extended prescription period
      N/A
  • Spain

    • Prescription period for VAT
      Four years after the year in wich the VAT became due
    • Extended prescription period
      N/A
  • Sweden

    • Prescription period for VAT
      Six years
    • Extended prescription period
      N/A
  • Switzerland

    • Prescription period for VAT
      Five years after the year in which the VAT became due
    • Extended prescription period
      Fifteen years
  • United Kingdom

    • Prescription period for VAT
      Shorter of period from 1 April 2006 to the current date OR Four years.
    • Extended prescription period
      Six years in cases of "careless action" or 20 years if loss of tax is deliberate/ because of a failure to comply with the disclosure regime/ failure to notify of chargeability.

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