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VAT cross-border e-commerce

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The European Commission has published new Explanatory Notes on the VAT e-commerce rules. The detailed notes, which run to 99 pages, include practical examples on how to apply the rules for suppliers and operators of online marketplaces and platforms. The notes aim to help online businesses and, in particular, SMEs understand their VAT obligations arising from cross-border supplies to consumers in the EU.

Transactions covered by the 2021 changes include the following:

  • distance sales of goods imported from third countries carried out by or on behalf of suppliers, except for goods subject to excise duties;
  • intra-community distance sales of goods carried out by suppliers or deemed suppliers;
  • domestic sales of goods by deemed suppliers through an online marketplace or platform; and
  • supplies of services by taxable persons not established within the EU (or by taxable persons established within the EU but not in the member state of consumption) to final consumers.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the application of the new VAT e-commerce rules has been postponed by six months and the rules will apply as of 1 July 2021 instead of 1 January 2021, giving member states and businesses additional time to prepare. Various amendments to the Principal VAT Directive (2006/112/EC) are accordingly now to apply from 1 July 2021 (including the changes to article 14 on the meaning of ‘supply of goods’ and the introduction of new article 14a on the supply of goods via an ‘electronic interface’).

Issue: 1504
Categories: News