New VAT rules proposed for e-commerce businesses

It may be several years before the new rules are implemented, but the EU intends to make legislative proposals in 2016 regarding the VAT regime for e-commerce businesses. What are the key changes planned?

EXTENDING THE MOSS FACILITY

The current mini one stop shop (MOSS) facility that provides an alternative to registering for VAT in other EU countries only applies to sales of digital services to consumers. Currently, an e-commerce business selling goods to consumers in another EU country has to register for VAT there if its sales exceed the country’s distance selling threshold. A proposal being considered is to extend the MOSS facility to include sales of goods. If implemented this proposal should provide an administrative simplification for all e-commerce businesses that make intra-EU sales of goods to consumers.

INTRODUCING AN EU VAT THRESHOLD

The current distance selling thresholds for goods apply on a country-by-country basis and do not apply to sales of digital services. If an e-commerce business makes a single sale of a digital service to a consumer in another EU country, it’s currently required to register for VAT there or use the MOSS. A proposal being considered is to introduce an EU-wide VAT threshold that would apply to intra-EU sales of goods and services. This could help small start-up e-commerce businesses.