E-Commerce, Market insights, Newsroom, VAT | 10. March 2023

Deutsche Post DHL Group breaks revenue record

The Deutsche Post DHL Group has broken its revenue record in the past year thanks to its successful international business. Meanwhile, fashion e-commerce giant Zalando faces declining sales and job cuts, forcing the company to implement a risky strategy. In other news, Amazon is acting against fake reviews on its platform, and new EU rules are tightening the obligations of payment service providers. On the other hand, German seaports are struggling with challenges in cargo handling. At the same time, Slovenia has won a VAT exemption case at the EU court. by

New records for Deutsche Post DHL Group: Group revenue increased to 94.4 billion euros last year thanks to the successful international business. EBIT also increased by 6 per cent to 8.4 billion euros. Shareholders can look forward to a dividend increase to 1.85 euros per share. In addition, the share buyback programme will be increased by 1 billion euros. The company has also achieved all non-financial targets around sustainability. For 2023, Deutsche Post DHL Group expects an EBIT between 6.0 and 7.0 billion euros. The EBIT target for 2025 is more than 8.0 billion euros.

A drop in sales and job cuts force Zalando to adopt a risky strategy

© Mika Baumeister / unsplash

Last year, the online fashion retailer Zalando recorded a decline in turnover of 0.1 per cent to 10.3 billion euros. The adjusted operating profit also fell to 184.6 million euros after almost 425 million euros in the previous year. The pandemic also affected Zalando’s business. Group sales suffered from the declining propensity to buy; in the first quarter of 2022, Zalando had to report a decline in sales and even a loss. For 2023, the company expects a decrease in sales of one per cent in the worst case and growth of four per cent in the best chance.

Zalando is planning new fees for its partner programme and Connected Retail to generate additional revenue streams. In 2015, the company initiated its partner programme for manufacturers and other fashion retailers. More than 1,600 retailers and fashion brands now use Zalando’s partner programme. Connected Retail was launched in 2018 and aimed to help brick-and-mortar fashion retailers sell goods on Zalando through a software implementation. Since the Corona lockdown months, Zalando has waived commission, but that will soon end. Zalando needs to provide information about the amount of the costs. In addition, Zalando has announced that it will cut several hundred jobs to increase profitability.

The pressure on Zalando continues to rise as increased inflation and high costs of living weigh on consumer spending.

Amazon acts against fake reviews

© Christian Wiediger / Unsplash

Amazon filed lawsuits against six defendants selling fake reviews in February 2023, reports onlinemarktplatz.de. The cases are designed to protect Amazon customers and sales partners from fraud. The defendants provide fake review services to assist fraudsters who attempt to run Amazon sales accounts. Amazon has over 12,000 employees worldwide to protect its shops from fraud and abuse. It continues its efforts to hold malicious actors accountable. Amazon already took legal action in 2022 against more than 90 malicious actors who have enabled and solicited fake reviews.

Stricter obligations for payment service providers in the EU

© Pexels

Payment service providers will have new obligations starting January 1, 2024, as part of the fight against VAT fraud in cross-border commercial transactions. Providers must keep detailed records of cross-border payments and provide information to tax authorities about certain cross-border payments. This information will be collected via an XML file and transmitted to the European database ‘CESOP’, a central electronic system for payment information. CESOP will store, compare, and analyse the information provided by Member States and make the results of those analyses available to Eurofisc liaison officers, who specialise in fighting VAT fraud. The payment service providers must pass on the XML files containing payment data to the Belgian tax authorities via the MyMinfin portal at the latest at the end of the month following the calendar quarter to which the information relates.

Cargo throughput declined in 2022: German seaports face challenges

Port of Hamburg © Pexels

The volume of goods handled in German seaports fell by 3.2% in 2022, with goods received from abroad declining less sharply than the volume of goods shipped abroad, the Federal Statistical Office reports. Hamburg was Germany’s largest seaport, but Sweden has replaced Russia as the largest trading partner. Most fossil fuels came from the USA. Container throughput fell by 6.3%, with China accounting for a good fifth of German container throughput.

VAT exemption: Slovenia wins ECJ case

© Court of Justice of the European Union

The Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled that Slovenia was right to refuse new evidence of eligibility for VAT exemption, reports taxlive.nl. The case stems from an investigation against Nec Plus Ultra Cosmetics AG, which had supplied cosmetics to a Croatian and a Romanian customer. The goods were stored in a Slovenian warehouse and transported to another EU Member State at the customer’s expense. The Slovenian tax authorities were convinced that Nec could not prove that the cosmetics were transported outside Slovenia, which would have been decisive for VAT exemption. Nec argued that evidence presented after the tax audit should have been considered. Still, the Slovenian court referred the matter to the EU Court of Justice, which upheld Slovenia’s position. The ruling underlines the importance of respecting the principles of equivalence and effectiveness when interpreting EU law.

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