E-Commerce, Newsroom, VAT | 7. March 2023

Otto Group ceases myToys business operations

The Otto Group has announced the closure of myToys.de GmbH and all 19 retail locations. Meanwhile, the FT1000 list has identified the fastest growing companies in Europe in 2022. Amazon has topped the ACSI list. The European Data Protection Supervisor has published a statement on ViDA. In Belgium, a uniform reduced VAT rate of 9% has been proposed as part of a tax reform plan. The Netherlands boasts a small VAT compliance gap, while Barcelona plans to change urban goods distribution. by

myToys GmbH will cease its business operations and close all store locations. However, the myToys brand will continue to be offered on the otto.de platform. The Otto Group’s Executive Board and shareholder bodies took the decision because the previous multichannel concept could not continue to be successfully implemented in the highly competitive and low-margin toy market. The closure of the myToys administration in Berlin and the company’s 19 over-the-counter shops will take place by February 2024 at the latest and will affect around 800 employees. The management will negotiate a reconciliation of interests and a social plan with the works council to mitigate employee consequences.

The decision results from a thorough business development analysis, showing that myToys has not achieved solid economic performance and sustainable profitability despite multiple strategic realignments and high investments. However, the Otto Group believes in the myToys brand and wants to offer the toy segment on otto.de a new, attractive stage. The transformation of otto.de into a platform is progressing rapidly and should make the range of toys even more appealing to customers in the fourth quarter of 2023. The decision has no operational impact on the group company Limango, which intends to grow independently and profitably.

FT 1000: Europe’s fastest growing businesses 2022 revealed

The Financial Times and Statista have released their sixth annual FT 1000 list, ranking Europe’s fastest-growing companies based on the highest compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in revenue between 2017 and 2020. This year, the minimum CAGR required to make the list was 36.5%. The top spot was taken by Swappie, a Finland-based seller and buyer of refurbished smartphones, with a CAGR of 477%. The tech sector dominated the list, followed by construction and retail, with Italy having the most entries and London, the city with the most fast-growing companies. Despite the ongoing risks of labour shortages, inflation, and global tensions, many business leaders are confident of better performance in the forthcoming year. Deloitte research in January indicated that many UK business leaders were planning to increase investment this year.

Amazon tops American Customer Satisfaction Index

Amazon has topped the charts in the newly released American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), ranking first in the selection, value for money, and online shopping experience, reports onlinemarktplatz.de. The survey also showed that Amazon holds the first position in customer loyalty, service quality, meeting customer expectations, and the likelihood of customers recommending the platform to others. The company credits its success to its strategy, which focuses on customer priorities: selection, price, and convenience. Amazon thanks its employees and sales partners for their hard work and dedication to providing customers with the best shopping experience, selection, and prices. The company sees this achievement as a confirmation that its hard work is being recognized and will continue to work towards making the lives of its customers better and easier every day.

UK Court: Dating agency does not qualify for VAT exemption

Gray & Farrar, an exclusive matchmaking service, has lost its appeal against a ruling that the service was not a form of expert advice and therefore did not qualify for VAT exemption, reports bailii.org. HM Revenue & Customs had assessed the taxpayer for £1.7m, claiming the company’s service, which included up to eight introductions to potential partners and the arrangement of a match for a partner not on the membership list, was standard rated. Gray & Farrar argued that the service was outside the scope of VAT. The Court of Appeal concluded that the service was not regularly supplied by consultants or similar, nor was its data processing or information supplies.

European Data Protection Supervisor’s statement on ViDA

On 8 December 2022, the European Commission issued legislative proposals on VAT in the Digital Age. This package includes a Proposal for a Council Directive amending VAT rules for the digital age, a Proposal for a Council Regulation amending VAT administrative cooperation arrangements, and a Proposal for a Council Implementing Regulation amending information requirements for specific VAT schemes.

The EDPS recommends explicitly specifying that the information collected may only be processed to fight VAT fraud by the competent tax administration. The EDPS also welcomes that the information provided to the tax administration under the digital reporting requirements is an extract of the information from the invoice, not the whole invoice. This reduces the impact of the processing of personal data on the rights and freedoms of the data subjects.

Shift proposed in Belgium’s long-awaited tax reform

Belgium’s Finance Minister Vincent Van Peteghem ©Wikimedia Commons

Belgium’s Finance Minister, Vincent Van Peteghem, has proposed a tax reform that aims to reduce labour income taxation in an interview with PWC. The proposal includes increasing the tax-free amount and widening tax brackets in progressive income tax scales. The tax reduction will be financed by introducing the Global Minimum Tax in Belgium, an increase in the Belgian security tax, changes to the VAT rates, and reform of the tax regime for stock option plans. The proposal also includes tax incentives for green investments. The reform will go through the legislative process and is expected to be voted on by summer. The proposal includes changes to personal income tax, benefits in kind, security tax, participation exemption, green investments, innovation income deduction, VAT rates, and e-invoicing. An increase in excise duties on professional diesel is also suggested.

Belgium: Single-Reduced VAT Rate of 9% Proposed

Finance Minister Vincent Van Peteghem plans to adjust tax brackets, with fewer people ending up in the top 50% bracket, and increase the tax-free amount, resulting in more net pay for workers, reports vrt.be. The tax concession for married couples and legal cohabitants will be extinguished. There will be a single-reduced VAT rate of 9% instead of 6% or 12%. The VAT rate for some basic products will be 0%, while energy will remain at 6%. The tax on securities accounts will be doubled. Workers should have an additional €835 left over due to the proposed measures. These are Van Peteghem’s plans, which are yet to be finalized.

VAT Reporting: Form Changes in the EU

The Italian and Spanish tax authorities have released information on tax return changes for the reporting period starting 1 January 2022. In Italy, the Annual Return – IVA 2023 reflects legal changes introduced throughout the year, with the due date for filing set for 1 February 2023. Meanwhile, Spain has introduced several changes relating to Suministro Inmediato de Información (SII), including rate changes, new validation errors and updates to the FAQ document. The Hungarian and Croatian tax authorities have also published modifications to the Periodic Return VAT and Control Lists for reporting periods beginning 1 January 2023. Find detailed info here: taxbackinternational.com

The Netherlands boasts a low VAT compliance gap

The Netherlands has a much lower VAT compliance gap than the European average, according to the European Commission’s VAT gap report in 2022, reports rijksoverheid.nl. The Dutch VAT compliance gap of 2.8% has been relatively stable recently, thanks to the working method of the Tax and Customs Administration. The report also indicates that the Dutch VAT policy gap of 49.16% was above the European average due to some sectors where performance is often tax-exempt or exempt. The reduced VAT rate is currently being widely evaluated, and any inefficiencies may lead to adjustments or removal. Despite the differences, the EU aims to jointly reduce the VAT compliance gap through increased cooperation and information exchange between tax authorities.

Barcelona’s plan to transform urban freight distribution

© Pexels

Barcelona City Council has launched a public bid, setting a goal for at least 40% of online purchases to be delivered to pick-up points across the city by the end of 2023, reports cross-border-magazine.com. The project, developed with the involvement of 62 entities, aims to reduce the negative impact of the urban distribution of goods (DUM) and bring about a network of convenience stores and locations for deliveries and pick-ups, with lockers and sustainable last-mile delivery companies. Other goals include:

• Reducing emissions from delivery vehicles.
• Increasing the number of bicycles and delivery cycles.
• Reducing traffic accidents.
• Promoting technological solutions.

The bid aims to achieve a more sustainable and efficient system of urban distribution of goods.

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