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EU €5bn e-commerce VAT fraud spreads to Greece

  • Apr 23, 2018 | Richard Asquith

EU €5bn e-commerce VAT fraud spreads to Greece

The EU is investigating the growth of Chinese e-commerce VAT fraud in Greece. The fraud is being perpetrated via Greece’s key Piraeus port, which is a hub for imports of consumer goods into south east Europe.  It is estimated by the European Commission that online VAT fraud on sales of goods to individuals is costing member states over €5billion in lost revenues per annum.

The investigation is being led by the EU EuropeanAnti-Fraud Office (‘OLAF’) and the Italian Central Anti-Fraud Office, which believes many goods being sold online to its consumers have no or under declared import VAT liabilities at the time of their entry to the EU via Greece. The goods originally travel from China via the new Silk Road route being developed by China -  part of China’s ‘Belt and Road’ truck, rail and sea transport infrastructure initiative to develop trade links with Europe.

The fraud includes miscategorising the commodity codes of clothing and electrical consumer codes to undervalue the import tariffs and VAT due.

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VP Global Indirect Tax
Richard Asquith
VP Global Indirect Tax Richard Asquith
Richard Asquith is VP Global Indirect Tax at Avalara, helping businesses understand their compliance obligations as they grow globally. He can be contacted at: He is part of the European leadership team which won International Tax Review's 2019 Tax Technology Firm of the Year. Richard qualified as an accountant with KPMG in the UK, and went on to work in Hungary, Russia and France with EY.