More than 140 countries worldwide—including all European countries—levy a Value-Added Tax (VAT) on goods and services. As today’s tax map shows, although harmonized to some extent by the European Union (EU), EU member states’ VAT rates vary across countries.
The EU sets the broad VAT rules and has set the minimum standard VAT rate at 15%. The 27 member states (plus UK) are otherwise free to set their standard VAT rates.
The EU also permits a maximum of two reduced rates, the lowest of which must be 5% or above. Some countries have variations on this, including a third, reduced VAT rate, which they had in place prior to their accession to the EU.