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Germany marketplaces liable for Seller VAT fraud 2019

  • Jun 3, 2018 | Richard Asquith

Germany marketplaces liable for Seller VAT fraud 2019

Germany is to make online marketplaces liable for any unpaid VAT by merchants on their platforms from 1 January 2019. The European Union estimates Germany's VAT GAP - the difference between VAT collections and forecasts - is €22 billion per annum

The new law will apply to German resident and non-resident e-retailers. To moderate any liabilities, the marketplaces may:

  • 1. Keep a record of the Sellers’ up-to-date German VAT registration certificate; or
  • 2. Have digital confirmation from the German federal tax authorities of the Sellers’accurate VAT compliance.

The largest online platforms in Germany include: Amazon; Otto; Zalando; Noteboosbilliger; Bonprix; MediaMarkt; Cyberport; Conrad; Tchibo; ad Alternate.

The draft law was agreed to by Federal finance ministers on 25 May 2018. It follows similar, joint and several UK VAT liability obligations on marketplaces introduced by the UK in 2018


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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: richard.asquith@avalara.com. He is part of the European leadership team which won International Tax Review's 2020 Tax Technology Firm of the Year. Richard trained as an accountant with KPMG in the UK, and went on to work in Hungary, Russia and France with EY.