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Postal Operators React to the New VAT Proposal for Cross-Border E-Commerce


13 Dec 2016


Innovation & Enterprise

Brussels, 5 December 2016

The European Commission recently published and submitted to the Council their proposal to modernise VAT rules, aimed at improving the cross-border e-commerce from companies to consumers.    

PostEurop, representing European postal operators, welcomes the approach of the Commission to modernise the VAT rules for cross-border e-commerce, avoid situations of VAT fraud and reduce the administrative burden on businesses and suppliers, which in theory will also benefit our customers including SMEs. 

Postal operators are key players in a fast-growing e-commerce delivery market, a crucial pillar of the EU's Digital Single Market. We connect numerous e-suppliers worldwide with every single European citizen. We ensure that all citizens can enjoy the benefits of e-commerce including those living in remote areas.

We are committed to the Commission objectives to be achieved by the proposal. However, we are concerned about the possible spill-over effects that the measure may have in several sectors. The measure should comply with the proportionality and the basic taxation principles.

We believe that the exact implications of the series of measures proposed by the Commission on the postal sector and customs, among others, need further in-depth analysis.  While the current proposal aims to make the VAT rules simpler, it can bring additional burden to intermediaries, and ultimately back to the consumers.

Postal operators are concerned about the following points highlighted and consistent in our position paper submitted last year:

  • additional costs (for operators, e-sellers, customers or fiscal authorities);
  • diminishing quality of service (including speed) in the delivery process;
  • creating artificial barriers to small e-sellers to compete in the European market.

In addition, PostEurop believes that it would be very difficult to manage, from an operational point of view, the high volumes of low-value items that would be checked, considering the proposed abolishment of the current VAT threshold.

PostEurop would therefore like to remind that one of the basic principles of tax policy is that the cost of collection must be lower than the tax collected, easy to apply and enforceable.

We are concerned that the proposal may put at risk the role of postal operators as a key player in the e-commerce chain: the maintenance of I) an affordable delivery offer and II) the speed of delivery which are essential to ensure the smooth functioning of the e-commerce market.

We hope to collaborate with the Commission and the Member States to find a balanced approach that can work for all stakeholders.



For more information, please contact:

Cynthia Wee-Neumann

Communications Manager

T: +32 2 773 11 92     


POSTEUROP is the association which represents European public postal operators. It is committed to supporting and developing a sustainable and competitive European postal communication market accessible to all customers and ensuring a modern and affordable universal service. Our Members represent 2.1 million employees across Europe and deliver to 800 million customers daily through over 175,000 counters