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Must I use the OSS if I sell across the EU via a platform?

If you sell in the EU via an online platform like Amazon or eBay, you may not need to register for the One Stop Shop (OSS) directly.

In certain instances, online platforms are responsible for managing the VAT on sales they facilitate. Put more simply, sometimes, when goods are sold through an online marketplace (OMP) such as Amazon or eBay, the marketplace itself is responsible for that VAT.

In other words, sometimes you will not need to use the OSS to account for your VAT yourself if you sell through a digital platform. However, OMPs are only responsible for managing VAT in very specific circumstances.

When is the platform responsible for VAT?

Under the new EU e-commerce rules, an online marketplace is responsible for charging and accounting for VAT on goods sold to customers in the EU under the following circumstances:

  • If the underlying seller is not established in the EU
  • When the goods are outside of the EU at the time of sale and the total value of those goods is less than €150. (This applies whether or not the seller is established in the EU.

What happens when the seller is responsible for VAT

In cases when the above conditions do not apply, the underlying seller is responsible for charging and accounting for VAT. 

It does not automatically follow that the seller must register for the OSS. The OSS is optional. However, in many such cases, retailers will likely elect to use the OSS. Doing so will enable them  to take advantage of the simplified VAT registration and compliance process it offers. 

It is advisable to consult a VAT expert to get full clarity on the potential benefits of using the OSS. 

Fulfilment centres and VAT

The OSS enables e-commerce sellers to account for sales throughout the EU via a single VAT return. The system thus, in many cases, greatly simplifies the VAT registration and filing requirements of e-commerce.

However, sellers that make use of third party fulfilment centres, or use services such as Amazon FBA, should be aware of the attendant potential VAT obligations. 

Even if you take advantage of the OSS, you may still be required to register for VAT in the countries in which your goods are warehoused for the purpose of onward sale.

Optimise your VAT compliance

E-commerce sellers need to carefully consider two aspects of their VAT compliance. First, what are their regulatory obligations? And second, what is the most effective and efficient way to meet those obligations?

Vatglobal’s e-commerce VAT specialists are available to provide strategic VAT advice tailored to your specific business requirements. Our expert team can manage the entire VAT compliance process for you. We’ll ensure you are always fully VAT compliant, everywhere you have an obligation.  

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