Online platforms like Amazon or ebay liable for French VAT obligations of their sellers
France is planning to extend the VAT obligations of online sellers to online platforms and marketplaces like Amazon, eBay or Alibaba.
Online platforms allow buyers to find the right product from a list of online sellers advertised in their platform. VAT and tax obligations on the sale of each product would normally apply to the seller only (the company who transfers the title of the goods to the final client). However, France plans to extend the obligation to pay VAT on these sales to the online platform who got the buyer and the seller in contact.
The UK already introduced a joint liability of online platforms in 2018. In the UK, tax authorities may require sellers to appoint a fiscal representative in the country in order to get a UK VAT number. Likewise, Germany requires online platforms to hold a valid tax certificate in order to sell their products in the country.
Tax authorities in Europe are concerned about the lack of tax compliance of online sellers. Non-EU sellers concentrate a significant amount of VAT fraud. When selling without VAT, these sellers also have a competitive advantage against EU sellers who are required to charge VAT on all their sales.
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