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RAVAS was formed in 2010 in order to campaign for the ending of the abuse of an import VAT Exemption called LVCR which was being used by retailers to avoid charging VAT on mail order goods. RAVAS has already taken effective action against the abuse of LVCR in the Channel Islands (who are outside the EU for VAT purposes) by complaining to the EU Commission. The RAVAS complaint resulted in the exclusion of Channel Island mail order goods from LVCR and the clarification that member states are obligated to prevent LVCR from being abused for VAT avoidance purposes. RAVAS supported HMRC in a major court hearing in London in March 2012 where the Channel Islands abuse of LVCR was examined. The UK was given permission by the court to selectively exclude mail order goods from LVCR and this not only ended the Channel Islands offshore fulfilment industry but also clarified the right of member states of the EU to remove goods from LVCR selectively in order to prevent abuse and VAT avoidance.

Despite this positive result the abuse of LVCR is far from over and RAVAS is now campaigning to highlight the fact that:

  • The abuse of LVCR continues from other non-EU locations and this needs to be dealt with by the UK Authorities and the European Commission with a combination of enforcement action, effective policing and legislative change.
  • EU LVCR and VAT legislation relating to cross border mail order supplies is archaic and needs updating urgently