Teresa Fabregas Fernandez is a new entry this
Maria Teresa Fabregas Fernandez took over the European
Commission's top indirect tax job from Donato Raponi in March,
and is tasked with delivering an ambitious set of reforms.
She studied law, international relations and economics at
institutions in France, Spain, Switzerland and the UK before
starting work in the field of legislation for industrial
"I joined the Commission 20 years ago," she tells
International Tax Review. "I've been dealing with
several different fields of EU policy: enterprise policy,
internal market, trade and financial services."
She has previously worked as the head of the securities
markets unit, leading a team of 16 working on policy
development. Throughout that period she worked with financial
regulators, consumer groups, NGOs, investors, industry and
more. She also headed up the financial markets infrastructure
division for the Commission.
"The thing I am most proud of is contributing to the
building of a new European legal framework in different fields.
In the last 10 years of my career I was very closely involved
in the development and negotiation of the new revised legal
framework on financial infrastructure, meaning the regulation
of stock exchanges, derivative markets and financial markets in
general," she says.
"I was also involved in some pieces of legislation relating
to, for instance, market abuse in financial markets and
financial benchmarks legislation," she adds. "All in all, I was
involved in the modernisation of the legal framework for
financial services in the European Union – and we
succeeded! So now, moving into this new position in taxation,
we are again starting a process where we are trying to reform
our European legal framework. I hope that we will be as
successful as we have managed to be in the financial services
area in modernising."
The Commission wants to bring the whole of the EU together
to become a single VAT area, uniting member states even further
for VAT purposes. The success of the 2015 changes –
which shifted e-services, broadcasting and telecommunications
to the destination principle – has emboldened the EC,
which will now roll out the change, along with other reforms
aimed at combating fraud, to the rest of the economy.
By doing this, it believes that it can reduce compliance
costs for companies by €1 billion ($1.2 billion) per year,
and much of this saving will come through an expanded one-stop
shop, following the success of the mini one-stop shop from the
"Today, for a company, it is 11% more expensive to deal
cross-border than to deal domestically," says Fabregas. "With
the one-stop-shop we'll be able to close that gap in terms of
not penalising those who want to go cross-border within the
Just suggesting these proposals has started a lot of
conversations among businesses and practitioners, who seem
largely in agreement that the changes would be an improvement
from the EU's outdated VAT system – but the biggest
challenge for Fabregas and the EC as a whole will be achieving
"Moving into the taxation field is extremely important for
me," says Fabregas. "Why? Because it's the revenues that member
states get through their tax systems that mean we can function,
not just through the EU budget, but that healthcare, education
and infrastructure can be provided to all European citizens in
all member states."
As Fabregas grows into her role, she is becoming one of the
most important names in VAT in the world.