Germany announce that online marketplaces will be liable for their merchants’ unpaid VAT from 2019

2 July 2018

Germany recently announced that from 1 January 2019 its existing joint and several liability rules will be extended to hold online marketplaces (such as eBay, Amazon etc.), liable for unpaid VAT by the merchants selling over their platforms.

This new liability mirrors the regulations that were introduced by the UK during March 2018 and will require online marketplaces to either keep a record of their merchants’ German VAT certificates or hold digital confirmation from the German tax authorities that the merchants are up-to-date with their VAT affairs, to ensure their VAT compliance.

It is hoped that this measure will help to prevent online VAT fraud, which is estimated to cost the European Union up to €5 billion per year.

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