EU e-commerce - VAT proposals

20 December 2016

On 1 December 2016 the European Commission issued a proposal for a range of measures that it hopes will simplify the EU VAT regime for e-commerce traders of goods and services.

Before they are implemented these measures will need to be agreed by all 28 EU member states and once agreed they will be introduced from 2017 onwards.  Please see below for further detail in regards to these:

  • 2017 – EU member states to be permitted to levy the same VAT rates on electronic books and journals as their paper equivalents.
  • 2018 - A €10,000 VAT registration threshold for declaring e-service sales to consumers will be introduced. This relates to the new electronic service rules that were brought in during January 2015 which meant that companies selling E-services to consumers had to charge VAT in the customer’s country.


This threshold will only apply to EU companies and once implemented these companies will be able to report the sales to foreign EU consumers below the €10,000 annual threshold in their domestic countries VAT returns.

  • 2021 – In an effort to reduce foreign VAT registrations and administration for distance selling companies the Mini One-Stop-Shop single filing facility, currently used for cross-border sales of E-services to consumers, will be extended to the sales of e-commerce goods.

Currently businesses involved in the sale of e-commerce goods to consumers have to follow EU distance selling rules which requires them to register when their sales meet certain thresholds in each EU country.  This could potentially mean that they have to register and file VAT returns in each of the 28 EU member states.

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