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Removal of the VAT de Minimis on E-Commerce items will cost the delivery industry 1 billion euros more, reveals Copenhagen Economics study


06 Nov 2017


Brussels, 6 November 2017
European postal operators welcome a recent study by Copenhagen Economics, a leading consultancy, which reveals that the removal of the long standing "VAT de Minimis exemption", a long-established provision for imports of low value items will create significant additional processing costs for the delivery industry. It will also create disproportionate administrative burden for national customs and tax administration, e-sellers - all of which will ultimately affect EU consumers, thus hampering the growth of e-commerce in Europe.  This is in contradiction to the Commission's aim to modernise VAT rules for improving cross-border e-commerce from companies to consumers.  Therefore, postal operators urge that the European Commission seriously reconsiders this element of its package of VAT policies and defers the removal of the "VAT de Minimis exemption" until a better solution can be found. 
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, ensuring that all citizens can enjoy the benefits of e-commerce.  In principle, postal operators welcome the overall 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 as outlined in their December 2016 proposal, which in theory should also benefit our customers including SMEs.
European postal operators highlight that, contrary to the Commission's aim to modernise VAT rules and improve cross-border B2C e-commerce, the removal of the long standing "VAT de Minimis exemption" will have a negative effect on the growth of e-commerce in Europe. A study by Copenhagen Economics published today, focused on the consequence of removing the "VAT de Minimis", reveals that there are major and disproportionate costs on the delivery industry, national customs administration, e-seller and ultimately the EU consumers. The delivery Industry faces an additional processing cost of €1 billion.  
"We are concerned that the proposal may put at risk the role of postal operators as a key player in the e-commerce chain, in terms of providing an affordable and reliable delivery offer to ensure the smooth functioning of the e-commerce market.  This will also have an impact on customs and tax authorities alike, who are now expected to handle a much larger volume of dutiable items with current insufficient resources in terms of staff and IT equipment, which may lead to unequal customs and tax treatment all around the European Union and create distortion of competition" said Mr. Jean-Paul Forceville, Chairman of PostEurop.
Therefore, postal operators strongly urge the Commission and the Member States to take into account the findings of Copenhagen Economics study, defer the removal of the VAT exemption and co-operate in order to find a balanced approach that can work for all stakeholders.
See also
Effects of Removing the VAT De Minimis on e-commerce Imports by Copenhagen Economics (attached)
For more information, please contact:
Carlo Sauve
Chair of the PostEurop's VAT Working Group
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 million employees across Europe and deliver to 800 million customers daily through over 175,000 counters
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