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EU targets single VAT registration on B2C e-commerce 2017

  • VAT
  • 07 May 2015 | Richard Asquith

EU targets single VAT registration on B2C e-commerce 2017

On 6 May 2015, the European Commission issued a bold commitment to reform and simplify the EU VAT regime for Internet goods retailers selling to consumers. It came as part of a 16-part initiative to boost the European Union's single market’s digital economy.

Single EU VAT registration

Proposal 8 of the EC’s set of initiatives includes the proposal to introduce a single VAT registration and reporting regime for e-retailers selling across the 28 EU member states. This would be modelled on the 2015 Mini One-Stop-Shop portals introduced to enable digital services providers to just register once and complete single quarterly VAT returns to cover all countries.

Currently, distance sellers must register with each country where they are selling once they pass the local EU distance-selling threshold.

Harmonised VAT registration thresholds

Secondly in Proposal 8, the EC has recommended that all countries have the same initial VAT registration threshold for foreign B2C online sales. This idea has emerged as a result of the practical difficulties that small micro-businesses have experienced with 2015 EU VAT changes.

Currently member states set their own VAT registration thresholds for companies in their jurisdictions. Non-resident traders must register immediately if they are making a taxable supply in another EU country.

Low-value consignment stock relief

The EC also recommended that member states harmonise their low-value consignment stock relief thresholds.  These are the limits below which single delivers of goods are VAT and customs duties exempt.  At present, the countries are free to set their own limits, which vary from about €5 to €30,

Cross-border audits

Lastly, the Commission has also put forward a proposal for the countries to be able to perform multiple country audits.

2017 EU VAT reform implementation

The European Commission has promised to deliver the above VAT compliance changes by the end of 2016 in co-operation with the European Parliament. The proposals will be discussed by the European Council in June.


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 is part of the European leadership team which this year won International Tax Review's 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.