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Amazon: Retailers with sales in Austria must define VAT ID

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Date18 Aug 2020
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After many, many years within a grey area, during which online marketplaces could operate and manage as they wished largely unhindered, they are now increasingly being brought on board. This ranges from the disclosure of rankings and control obligations to co-responsibility for tax offences. In Germany, a liability regulation for online marketplaces has been in place since 2019 if sales there are not properly taxed.

Online retailers are required to provide the marketplaces with certain tax data, including the time and amount of the accrued sales. If a merchant does not fulfil his obligations, the tax authorities can contact the marketplace operator with a corresponding notice. If the marketplace operator does not want to be liable for the tax liability, they must block the trader. Some traders may also remember the so-called registration certificate. It is being reported that Austria will introduce a sister regulation from 1st January 2021.

From 2021, Amazon & Co. liability also in Austria

A new law will then apply in Austria, which will also oblige platforms such as Amazon to transfer data, such as identity and transaction data to the Austrian tax authorities. In addition, Amazon will also have to pass on the sales in and to Austria to insert their VAT ID in the Seller Central Account by the end of the year, if they have been granted one in Austria. If this is not done, Amazon may temporarily restrict the account.

“If transactions amounting to more than one million euros per year are processed via an electronic marketplace in Austria in their entirety – i.e. by all retailers (…), the marketplace is liable for the unpaid Austrian VAT if it has failed to comply with certain duties of care”, writes Taxdoo on its blog as justification for the new reporting obligation.

German traders are therefore also affected by the changes under Austrian law if they generate turnover in Austria and are registered there for VAT purposes. If they have been issued a VAT ID in Austria, this must be deposited.

The Status quo: Delivery thresholds for deliveries to Austria

But this could soon be over. Deliveries from Germany to Austria have so far been subject to taxation at the place of dispatch and thus to German turnover tax § 3 paragraph 6 of the Turnover Tax Act (UStG). The so-called “mail order regulation”, § 3c paragraph 1 (UStG), again makes an exception to this. VAT on cross-border shipments to private individuals in Austrian is taxable in Austria if a certain delivery threshold was exceeded in the current or previous year. The delivery threshold for Austria is currently 35,000 euros.

Initially, it was planned to abolish these delivery thresholds for deliveries within the EU on 1st January 2021. However, at the urging of many countries, this change is to be postponed by at least six months and thus come into force from July 2021 at the earliest.

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