New EU VAT-Related Obligations for E-Commerce Platforms Worldwide: A Qualitative Impact Assessment

The modernization of the EU VAT framework to address the booming development of B2C e-commerce has been one of the flagships of the European Commission 2016 “VAT Action Plan”. With a view to reduce the risk of fraud in B2C e-commerce transactions involving goods, new rules imposing new obligations on platforms (wherever they are established) will be applicable from 1 July 2021. These new obligations include the liability to collect VAT and relevant data on underlying supplies. In this article, the authors provide an in-depth analysis of these new obligations and propose a qualitative assessment of their (expected) impact, in terms of compliance burden and potential risk, on the different types of platforms currently active on the market. With this article the authors seek to demonstrate that the EU VAT framework for e-commerce still needs to be improved and that other jurisdictions should think twice before taking the current approach of the European Union as an example.