If you do your Christmas shopping online, know it: Most sellers do not pay VAT. According to a survey by Les Echos published Monday morning, based on a report by the Inspectorate General of Finance, 98% of sellers, registered in the marketplaces of sites like Amazon or Cdiscount, are not registered for VAT in France. Specifically, out of 24,459 sellers controlled by Bercy and registered on these merchant sites, only 538 were in good standing.
"A major distortion of competition"
Many of these scammers are based in China. They do not declare any VAT. And consumers find their account. When you buy a product in an online market place, you rarely wonder who the seller is, we trust the intermediary, Amazon for example, to be delivered.
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The Bercy report points well to the problem. These sellers who defraud VAT "enjoy a price advantage of 20% compared to companies that fulfill their tax obligations, creating a major distortion of competition". The report adds that "the amounts at stake are considerable". How ? The tax authorities do not give an estimate. But when we know that the French e-commerce market is close to 100 billion euros, we imagine the extent of fraud ...
The future finance bill should attempt to solve this problem. Indeed, from 2021, platforms like Amazon or Cdiscount will become liable for VAT for their online sellers.