Online marketplaces like Amazon make it easy to sell your goods to customers all over the world. Of course, that also makes it easy to run into global VAT obligations. That can be disconcerting, as many sellers have never faced foreign VAT obligations before. It’s no surprise, then, that Amazon has introduced a VAT service to help sellers meet their compliance obligations.
Let’s briefly take a look at what Amazon’s VAT solution offers e-commerce businesses. We’ll also consider when a seller may choose to consult an independent VAT expert.
A Look at Amazon’s VAT Solution
Amazon’s VAT solution was specifically designed to help companies selling through Amazon to meet their obligations to register and file for VAT.
If you sell through Amazon, the service can therefore be a relatively simple means of managing your VAT. As an online service, you simply upload all the requested documentation and follow the corresponding instructions.
As long as you have all your paperwork in order, and don’t require strategic VAT advice, the process may be suitable.
No papering over the gaps
However, many companies require (or simply prefer) assistance with sourcing and filing of all the necessary paperwork. Moreover, an expert VAT consultant can ensure that your documentation is correct, and that you have chosen to register for VAT in all the countries in which you have an obligation.
Amazon (correctly) points out that registration and/or filing cannot occur if you do not provide all requested documentation. However, assembling all the necessary paperwork without assistance can be difficult and time-consuming.
Where are your obligations?
Amazon’s VAT solution does not cover all countries. That’s an obvious limitation if you need to register in a country that’s not covered. Of course, you could use Amazon’s service for just the eligible countries and use a different provider for other jurisdictions. However, that introduces the complexity of multiple providers. You no longer have the convenience of a one-stop-shop.
Is your VAT compliance optimal?
You may be VAT compliant – but is your compliance optimal? For example, should you opt to use the new OSS to manage your VAT returns? When should you register for VAT to take advantage of a reclaim opportunity? As a very specific service aimed at solving a very specific problem, Amazon’s VAT service won’t help you in those cases. The right VAT expert, on the other hand, will help you make more informed business decisions.
Not all VAT experts are e-commerce experts
Amazon’s VAT solution aims to solve the specific VAT compliance issues associated with distance selling over a digital platform.
By contrast, not every VAT expert will be equally well versed in the specific technicalities of distance selling. In addition to expertise in the specific VAT obligations associated with ecommerce, the appropriate VAT expert also requires good country-specific knowledge about each country in which you are required to register for VAT. After all, the regulations, thresholds and filing deadlines will be different in each.
An integrated expert solution
Vatglobal’s is available to provide specialist advice on e-commerce and digital services VAT compliance. Our proprietary technology makes submitting your documentation easy. It even automatically error-checks your paperwork. And our expert global team will ensure you are always 100% compliant, in every country in which you have a VAT obligation.