The future of internet sales

The future of internet sales


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The approval of the Directive (EU) 2017/2455 amending Directive 2006/112 / EC, commonly known as the VAT Directive, will represent an important change for all those companies that are dedicated to the sale of goods and the provision of online services. One of the main obstacles that these companies face when they try to sell outside their borders is precisely the enormous difficulty that exists when declaring enter VAT corresponding to said sales. It is intended to facilitate international sales of goods and services through the Internet as well as to adapt the current operating system of VAT to the new digital reality. Taking into account the growth that this type of business is experiencing, it is expected that the approved measures have a great economic impact.

Since 2015, the provision of telecommunications services, as well as the services provided electronically, are subject to the VAT applicable in the country where the consumer of the service resided. This means that the service provider must pass on to its customers the VAT rate applicable in each of the countries where they are domiciled through a single-stop mini-system. From January 1, 2019, in response to the criticisms that the system received from small companies that were forced to apply, in some cases, up to 28 different VAT rates, a threshold of 10,000 euros which, if not exceeded, will allow the providers of these services to pass on VAT and comply with tax obligations, for example, in the matter of billing and declaration, specific to the State where they are established. This measure will be a relief for small businesses that, from one day to the next, were forced to comply with the VAT regulations of a large number of countries.

In addition, from January 1, 2021, the current regime known as distance sales will disappear, since it has been demonstrated that it is an obsolete system and far from the current era of Internet sales. In its place will be extended the system of mini-single window, which already exists for the provision of services, to intra-community sales of goods to private customers.

A threshold of 10,000 euros is established, as in the case of services, below which the deliveries of goods will be taxed in the Member State of dispatch of the goods. Once this threshold has been exceeded, it will be taxed in the Member State where the transport ends. It will be possible to renounce this system and always pay, regardless of the volume of sales, at destination, which can be clearly beneficial in those cases in which The VAT applicable in the country of arrival of the goods is lower than that valid in the country from which the shipment is made.

In addition, a measure has been approved that will be controversial and will give a lot to talk about. In cases in which suppliers established outside the EU sell goods in the Community through digital platforms, provided that said platforms facilitate the supply of said goods, they will be considered as those who make said sales. That is to say, digital platforms will be responsible for collecting VAT of those companies that sell goods through them, and then enter said VAT with the Tax Agency. One wonders what kind of platforms would affect this new measure, since there are platforms that are only responsible for contacting two individuals interested in conducting an operation and, however, there are others that directly intervene in the materialization of the operations.

Finally, a special regime is established for sales of goods imported from countries that are not members of the EU whose value does not exceed 150 euros. It is intended to facilitate the VAT settlement of these shipments in a single Member State, which will be chosen by the importer to register and declare, in that single country, the VAT of all its sales. The registration State will remit the corresponding VAT to the rest of the community administrations based on the sales made in each country.

All these changes will make VAT management in the coming years nothing has to do with the current system. Companies must be prepared for the digital revolution, which has also reached the scope of VAT.

Fernando Matesanz (Managing director of Spanish VAT Services Asesores)Fernando Matesanz (Managing director of Spanish VAT Services Asesores)

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