This study sought to address the challenges of formulating the European Union’s value-added tax (VAT) reform for the financial services sector and implementing the proposed changes. The concerns and suggestions submitted by this sector’s stakeholders during the European Commission’s 2021 public consultation are used as inputs. The research included automated computer-assisted content analysis of fifty-two position papers, using up-to-date text mining techniques to define four cluster containing the most salient terms. An in-depth critical review highlighted the most significant concerns and suggested alterations to the current VAT framework. The results include a three-layered discussion model that goes well beyond a straightforward one-shot discussion of whether financial services should charge VAT. First, the technical rationality view of not charging VAT when providing financial services is no longer applicable. Second, intermediary and cost-sharing groups are characteristic of these services, which puts into question the tax’s neutrality principle if the current VAT exemption regime remains in place. Last, abolishing the VAT exemption for these services could put an especially heavy burden on end consumers and small businesses, thereby implying extra measures will be needed to avoid a strongly negative socioeconomic impact. Significant implications for theory, practice and policy are presented.