Sunday, October 14, 2007


Value added tax (VAT), or goods and services tax (GST), is tax on exchanges. It is levied on the added value that results from each exchange. It differs from a sales tax because a sales tax is levied on the total value of the exchange. For this reason, a VAT is neutral with respect to the number of passages that there are between the producer and the final consumer. A VAT is an indirect tax, in that the tax is collected from someone other than the person who actually bears the cost of the tax (namely the seller rather than the consumer). To avoid double taxation on final consumption, exports (which by definition, are consumed abroad) are usually not subject to VAT and VAT charged under such circumstances is usually refundable.

The VAT was invented by a French economist in 1954. Maurice Lauré, joint director of the French tax authority, the Direction générale des impôts, as taxe sur la valeur ajoutée (TVA in French) was first to introduce VAT with effect from 10 April 1954 for large businesses, and extended over time to all business sectors. In France, it is the most important source of state finance, accounting for approximately 45% of state revenues


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