Category Archives: Editorials

Our ebiz Due Diligence experience: When VAT becomes a material issue

In this article we attempt to explain in a simplified way the impact VAT can have on determining the purchase price of an ebusiness company during a due diligence process. This should be of special interest for investors investing in ebusinesses and also for owners of a start-up when planning to gain additional capital or when playing with the idea of selling their companies some time in the future.

We have explained in previous posts that as of 1.1.2015 all ebusinesses providing eservices to non-VAT registered customers in the EU will have to charge VAT at the rate applicable in the EU country the customer resides in. Find out more

EU: 2015 VAT changes to eservices – the “keep it simple” edition

First and the most important fact: These rules are mandatory for any kind of ebusiness, no matter where it is established or has a nexus: in EU, US, China, India, Australia, Switzerland. As soon as a company provides eservices to a non VAT registered EU customer (regardless whether the customer is a legal or a natural person) it is bound by these rules, regardless whether it has a “physical” presence, server or agent in the EU. The customer’s location is the only thing that matters.

We have already presented some of the upcoming VAT changes to eservices (and also telecom and broadcasting services) previously. Find out more

EU: New VAT B2C rules for telecom, broadcasting and eservices might become effective much earlier than 2015 (and other proposed VAT changes)

As reported end of last year, EU Commission has on 18 December 2012 published a new proposal for amending the VAT Implementing Directive 282/2011, which provides additional rules and clarifications regarding the place of supply rules – i.e. defines in which country VAT should be levied.

For the purposes of this post I will limit myself only to those relevant for us telecom, broadcasting and e-services, even though the proposal deals also with some other issues (e.g. work on immovable property).

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Cross-border ecommerce whithin the EU

Ordering goods per internet that are sent directly to your home has become increasingly popular these days. It’s easier, more convenient and you can do it while riding a bus or waiting for your dentist appointment. While you could already buy clothes from catalogues decades ago, you can even do your groceries shopping via your smart phone today. But what are the tax obstacles in this area for companies offering those services within the EU?

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Asia: The physical side of ecommerce

Ecommerce in Asia is booming. China alone is forecast to grow to an over US $350 billion industry by 2016. While some markets may already be considered mature (Australia, for example), the growth of internet connectivity and consumer purchasing power cannot be ignored by either small-to-medium enterprises or multi-national corporations looking to reach new consumers.

Ultimately, e-commerce is likely to continue growing because it can more easily provide a wide variety of products at  lower prices and greater flexibility to customers, which in turn leads to an enhanced shopping experience.

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EU: Public consultation on new VAT rates – important for ebooks, digital newspapers and other eservices

In line with its previous indications the European Commission launched a public consultation last week in relation to the review of the reduced VAT rates. The public is invited to give their opinion on certain reduced VAT rates to see if they efficiently serve the purpose what they were created for.

The consultation forms part of the Commission’s VAT reform plans to build “a simpler, more robust and efficient VAT system”. And Commission is asking business for their input to this matter. It is your chance to have a saying in the much aniticpated reform of the EU VAT system.

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Who are B2C clients for VAT purposes?

This article is again about one of the most frequently asked questions we are facing in our discussions with ebusinesses: What are “B2B” and what “B2C” clients?

The logical and expected explanation would be: B2B are all legal persons and B2C all natural persons / private individuals.

Unfortunately VAT follows its own logic – which is in most cases illogical when considered in everyday content. The above explanation therefore cannot be applied for VAT purposes.

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EU: What are eservices?

One of the relatively common questions we receive from our ebiz clients these days is very logical: What are eservices? Let’s start with the terminology and follow it up with examples.

There are many different expressions for this kind of services: electronic services, electronically supplied services, digital services, digital products… We will call them eservices – if the European Commission can live with this, so can we. And it is such a nice, short, effective word. Find out more

EU: E-book rates – Commission strikes back

As reported previously here, here, and here, France and Luxembourg have unilaterally decided to tax e-books at a (super)reduced VAT rate. They decided to tax them as “normal” books instead as e-services as they should be treated by the letter of the EU VAT Directive. This gave e-book traders established in France and Luxembourg a considerable advantage when selling e-books to their EU customers compared to e-book traders in other EU countries as it made the e-books in France and Luxembourg approx. 12% cheaper than before (reduction to a 3% super-reduced VAT rate instead of the standard rate of 15% in Luxembourg and to 7% instead of 19.6% in France).

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