New EU tax rules for orders placed with non-European online retailers will come into force at the beginning of July. The most important change is the elimination of the previous exemption limit of €22 for direct (B2C) imports. This means that import VAT will be due on all packages, with the exception that taxes below €1 are not levied. The elimination of the €22 exemption limit on July 1 affects all online purchases sent directly from non-EU countries, such as China, the U.S. or the U.K. Above all, purchases on ultra-cheap platforms such as AliExpress or Wish will be affected. Loopholes for tax evasion remain open in both cases, according to experts. For both small shipments and container exports, merchants can reduce the tax burden by declaring false values of goods. In the case of small consignments, there is still a chance to get away completely tax-free if the value of the goods is so low that the tax is less than €1.
The EU Commission has high hopes for the new measures. The tax reform creates “fair competition between European and foreign e-commerce market participants,” the Brussels-based authority writes in a brochure. It expects additional tax revenues of seven billion euros per year.