skip to content

Cambridge AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership - Student Profiles



I have dealt with taxation for some time; in my undergraduate and postgraduate studies, in obtaining my PhD and in my job as a tax consultant. I especially deal with EC matters, and in particular, VAT. My interest in this topic has always been beyond professional boundaries. As a contributing journalist, I have written hundreds of articles on VAT for several tax journals. Furthermore, I am a member of the EU Commission VAT Expert Group ('VEG'), that provides the Commission with advice on implementing VAT policy. Now, I wish to broaden my academic knowledge on VAT, after having spent several years dealing with it as a practitioner. This is why I decided to focus my research on a particular problem that arises when it comes to charging VAT on the provision of services between a parent company and its branches abroad ('intra-branch provisions'). These provisions are outside the scope of VAT under EU law. Such a state of affairs has led to VAT leakage. My research is intended to outline the changes necessary in EU law to prevent this leakage and detail a model that would allow intra-branch provisions to be charged with VAT when they are performed in a cross-border scenario. This is carried out with a view to addressing tax avoidance and the base erosion and profit shifting phenomenon ('BEPS') which, especially in a digital economy, can stem from the exploitation of business schemes that are based on intra-branch provisions.

Other academic interests

I have a strong interest in the field of fair taxation, tax avoidance and the protection of taxpayers’ rights. On the one hand, nobody should be charged disproportionate tax. On the other hand, everybody should contribute to common wealth by paying their appropriate portion of tax. At the same time, taxpayers should always be able to rely on clear rules aimed at safeguarding their rights when they are faced either with administrative or judicial procedures related to tax matters. These issues are linked to another pet subject of mine; the problem of tax abuse. In an international context, the exploitation of loopholes due to the lack of coordination between national fiscal systems, allows mainly multinational enterprises to gain undue advantage in terms of minimising their fiscal burden, by artificially creating the conditions to obtain this advantage. I do not approve of these forms of tax planning. I consider them to be tantamount to tax evasion and therefore a real threat in pursuing fair taxation on a global scale. Hence, my interest in understanding these phenomena and studying the possible legal remedies to prevent them. 

Department: Faculty of Law
Supervisor: Prof Peter Harris
College: Churchill College
AHRC Subject Area: Law and Legal Studies
Title of Thesis: 'Introducing the separate-legal-entity principle into the EU VAT law system: addressing VAT-avoiding schemes and the BEPS phenomenon'
 Matteo  Mantovani