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Written by:
Marcel Frazer


Launch of value-added tax counter for on-line trade

The European Commission is about to launch a value-added tax counter enabling EU-based businesses in future to file their value-added tax returns for on-line transactions in other EU Member States in their own country. 

Last Thursday, the first of December saw the presentation in Brussels of an array of measures in simplification of the value-added tax procedures for cross-border sales of goods and services. The value-added tax counter forms part of the new, streamlined set-up, which is expected to save the business community no less than 2.3 billion euros annually.

EU Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, Pierre Moscovici, explains: “The new one-stop shopping concept will enable all businesses, large and small, to take care of their value-added tax affairs in their own Member State while ensuring at the same time that the value-added tax is paid in the end user’s Member State.”

Comments a spokesperson for the Dutch retail trade association: “The streamlining of European value-added tax procedures, which in their current format leave retailers no choice but to file value-added tax returns in each of the EU Member States where they do business, has been at the top of our wish list for years.”

Threshold value-added tax counter

The European Commission intends to introduce a 10,000 euro threshold for start-ups and micro businesses. Any business venture whose annual sales remain below this amount will be able to take care of its value-added tax matters nationally rather than having to go through the EU counter.

 It has additionally been announced that the value-added tax exemption for products imported from non-EU countries whose value does not exceed 22 euros apiece is being abolished. This should put a stop to the wide-spread practice of systematic undervaluation in the import documents of pricey smartphones and tablets, which skews the playing field to the detriment of European traders, duty-bound as they are to pay value-added tax irrespective of product value. 

The new system has been designed with the aim of facilitating the collection of value-added tax on on-line sales – a worthy goal indeed, given that some 5 billion euros p.a. in value-added tax is currently being missed out on!

Dutch version: BTW-loket online handel

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