E-Commerce, VAT | 3. May 2023

EU Parliament on track for AI regulation

In this post, we'll explore the EU's AI regulation progress, OSS E-commerce VAT reforms, and the impact of recent EU payment reminders. We'll also discuss eBay's Q1 2023 revenue growth, its new global shipping service, and the risks in the online sneaker trade. Lastly, we'll examine the latest negative VAT guidance and Cyprus' VAT relief measures to combat inflation. by

On Thursday evening, EU MEPs in the Internal Market and Home Affairs Committee agreed on a draft for artificial intelligence (AI) regulation, reports Der Spiegel. The aim is to create the world’s first comprehensive AI regulation. In the next step, details of the draft law will be worked out with the member states.

The draft plans to classify AI systems according to risk level and require high transparency in their use. Copyrighted material is also to be disclosed if it was used in the development of generative AI.

Germany’s Digital Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) emphasises the urgency of standard transparency and labelling rules and pleads for harnessing the potential of AI instead of countering it with bans. He demands that democracies stand up for their standards internationally in AI development and not leave the field to autocratic systems.

One-Stop-Shop: EU payment reminders cause irritation

One-Stop-Shop: EU payment reminders cause irritation

Businesses participating in the EU One-Stop-Shop procedure receive payment reminders from other EU Member States. Although these states were informed early that payments could only sometimes be forwarded promptly, some have not suspended their automated reminder procedures, informs Germany’s Ministry of Finance.

Suppose affected business owners have already paid their taxes to the Bundeskasse Trier. In that case, it is recommended that they reply to the Member State concerned and point out that the payment has already been made to Germany. As a rule, notifying the German Federal Central Tax Office is unnecessary.

OSS E-commerce VAT Reforms Set for 2024

The European Commission is proposing a series of quick fixes to the existing One-Stop-Shop (OSS) e-commerce VAT regime, set to be introduced in January 2024, reports Fiscalsolutions.co.uk. These include refinements to processes, additional guidance on reporting zero or exempt sales, clarifications in legislation, and measures to combat fraud. The proposed changes come ahead of the potential introduction of VAT in the Digital Age (ViDA) in January 2025, which could extend OSS to cover many other supplies.

eBay Q1 2023 Revenue Rises to $2.5 Billion

eBay Q Revenue Rises to Billion

eBay reported its Q1 2023 financial results, highlighting $2.5 billion in revenue, a 1% increase on an as-reported basis and a 3% increase on an FX-neutral basis. Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV) was $18.4 billion, representing a 5% decrease on an as-reported basis and a 2% decrease on an FX-neutral basis.

CEO Jamie Iannone praised the company for a strong quarter and progress towards long-term objectives. CFO Steve Priest emphasised the resilience of eBay’s global marketplace during economic uncertainty.

The company saw growth in its first-party advertising products, delivering $285 million of revenue in the first quarter, a 27% increase on an as-reported basis and a 31% increase on an FX-neutral basis. eBay also expanded its Authenticity Guarantee program, launched new features to improve user experience, and made efforts to advance inclusive entrepreneurship and Re-Commerce.

New eBay shipping service opens US inventory worldwide

eBay has launched the eBay International Shipping (eIS) service to promote and simplify US exports, reports Onlinemarktplatz.de. eIS makes cross-border shipping as straightforward as domestic shipping and opens up wide-ranging access to US inventory. The service reduces the complexity and costs of international shipping without additional burdens on sellers.

In 2022, cross-border trade accounted for about one-fifth of eBay’s GMV. Since the launch of eIS in autumn of 2022, over 1.5 million sellers have been migrated, and customer satisfaction is at 80%. By 1 July 2023, eIS is expected to replace eBay’s existing international shipping platforms, the Global Shipping Program (GSP) and eBay International Standard Delivery (eISD).

Sneaker trade: High risk for online fraud

Sneaker trade High risk for online fraud

Online fraud in the fashion industry is exceptionally high in sneaker retail, according to an analysis by Riskified. With a risk score of 162% above the industry average, the risk of fraud in sneakers exceeds that of luxury fashion (69%). The large resale market and lucrative profit margins make sneakers attractive to fraudsters. New customers are particularly vulnerable, with about 50% of all fraudulent transactions involving this group. Orders worth $100 to $300 have the highest risk. Proxy IPs are often used in online fraud, but honest customers also use them to circumvent geographical restrictions. Riskified uses machine learning to identify fraudulent activity and ensure legitimate transactions.

Negative VAT: BMF provides guidance

Negative VAT: BMF provides guidance

In a letter dated 18 April 2023, the German Federal Ministry of Finance (BMF) comments on the tax liability according to § 14c UStG when negative VAT amounts are shown. This concerns invoices that contain negative amounts and corresponding negative VAT statements. According to the BMF, no tax liability arises under § 14c UStG in the case of an invoice for reduced remuneration with a negative VAT amount. However, a tax liability under § 14c UStG may arise in the case of an invoice for a supposed service with a negative VAT amount, which the BFH has not confirmed. Suppliers and recipients of services should exercise caution when showing negative amounts, and carefully check invoices and credit notes.

Cyprus Government Fights Inflation with VAT Relief

Cyprus Government Fights Inflation with VAT Relief

The government has approved a temporary zero VAT rate on essential consumer goods, including bread, milk, eggs, baby foods, and hygiene products, to alleviate inflationary pressures, reports Cyprus-mail.com. Effective 31 October, the measure will be implemented following the finance minister’s decree. The finance ministry cites global increases and supply chain disruptions as factors contributing to higher prices for essential items. The government has also extended electricity bill subsidies and approved reduced excise tax rates on motor and heating fuels for two months. The fiscal cost of the zero VAT rate is estimated at €11 million.

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