VAT package for e‑commerce
Firstly, the coming into effect of the VAT package for e‑commerce (‘eCommerce package’) is to be postponed for 6 months until 1 July 2021.
The new regulations in the eCommerce package essentially apply to mail order sales to private customers in the EU. The main aim of the new regulations is to combat VAT fraud and improve the collection of VAT on Internet sales. Essential elements include the establishment of a ‘One-Stop Shop’, so that sellers must be registered for VAT in only one EU Member State, and the introduction of liability rules for online marketplace operators. Although such liability rules have already been in place in Germany since 1 January 2019, their contents differ from the provisions of the eCommerce package. Supporting measures include the EU-wide standardisation of the delivery threshold to EUR 10,000 and the abolition of the previous tax exemption for the import of small consignments of up to EUR 22.
Exchange of information under the Directive on Administrative Cooperation (DAC)
On the other hand, certain deadlines for the submission and exchange of information under the Directive on Administrative Cooperation (DAC) will be postponed. The deadline for the exchange of information on financial accounts and on certain cross-border tax planning schemes is to be extended by three months in each case.
So far, these are merely proposals put forward by the European Commission, which have yet to be adopted by the Council and the European Parliament. No time schedule has been set up for this so far.
There is as yet no draft law for the transposition of the eCommerce package into German law. It remains to be seen whether the German legislator will take the postponement of the coming into effect as an opportunity to present a draft bill at a later date.
The situation is different, however, with regard to DAC 6 (mandatory reporting of cross-border arrangements). A law is already in effect which must in principle be applied from 1 July 2020. From that time on, the 30‑day deadline for reporting arrangements from 1 July 2020 and the deadline for subsequent reporting all arrangements from 25 June 2018 until 31 August 2020 will apply.
In the draft application letter for DAC 6 dated 2 March 2020, the Federal Ministry of Finance (BMF) already conceded that the interface connection of the Federal Central Tax Office (BZSt) for electronic data transmission will not be available until 1 August 2020. Accordingly, no official complaints should be raised if subsequent reports of arrangements are submitted by 30 September 2020 instead of 31 August 2020. For arrangements from 1 July 2020 onwards, no official complaints should be raised for missed deadlines until 30 September 2020.
It is not yet clear whether the proposals by the European Commission will be taken as an opportunity to adjust the legal regulations once again, or at least to extend the grace periods of between one and two months as provided for by the Federal Ministry of Finance. Since the draft application letter for DAC 6 does not yet take the impact of the corona pandemic into account, there are demands from business and the tax consultancy profession to extend the transitional arrangements at least until 1 January 2021.
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