Since July 1st, 2022, the legislative set of VAT measures for e-commerce entered into force, the scope of which covers remote sales of goods carried out by businesses to individuals/consumers (B2C transactions) in shipments/parcels with a value of up to amount of 150 Euros, (excluding several categories of products, such as products subject to excise duty).
In brief, the main changes in the field of imports of commodities which are subject of remote sales (e-commerce) are the following:
- Abolition of VAT exemption for the import of commodities the value of which does not exceed 22 Euros, so that all imports of commodities are subject to VAT, regardless of their value.
- Establishment of two new, optional VAT return regimes during import of commodities the value of which does not exceed 150 Euros.
- Special import status in the IOSS (Import One-Stop Shop), in which the seller of the commodities is liable for tax and the tax is attributed to the One-Stop-Shop.
- Special arrangements for the declaration and payment of VAT (special arrangements), where the recipient of the parcel is liable for the tax and the tax is paid on his behalf to the Customs Authorities by the person who presents the commodities to the customs office (usually international courier companies and the postal service provider ELTA).
- Regardless of the special VAT return regime that may be chosen, import customs formalities should be followed.
- establishment of an obligation to submit a declaration of the status of commodities in free circulation for each shipment (parcel),
- establishment of a new oversimplified customs import document (declaration H7) with the possibility of submitting it even before the arrival of commodities to speed up the customs clearance process,
- implementation of common rules and procedures for courier companies and Bodies for the Provision of Universal Services (ELTA SA),
- abolition of sorting of postal items in the presence of a customs officer.
In addition to the above, we point out that the above changes do not affect the VAT exemption provided by following customs formalities for non-commercial shipments of commodities from individual to individual, with a value not exceeding 45 euros
In particular, with regard to the VAT return procedure, upon introduction of the two new Optional regimes, the following shall apply:
a. IOSS (Import One-Stop Shop)
In order to use the special import regime, the seller is registered in IOSS of a member-state and obtains a unique VAT/IOSS number which is valid throughout the EU. If the seller is established outside the EU, he/she is required to appoint an intermediary. The intermediary must be registered in IOSS and obtain an IOSS ID number prefixed with IN. Then, the intermediary shall obtain for every person he/she represents a VAT/IOSS with the prefix IM which shall be valid throughout the EU.
Based on the special IOSS regime, the seller of commodities or online platform (supposed supplier) shall charge, at the time of sale, the buyer/recipient of the parcel, with the value of the product plus VAT at the rate applicable in the country of arrival of the parcel (m-consumption). The VAT collected shall be remitted by the seller to the IOSS one-stop shop. In this way, the tax liability of the recipient of the parcel shall be fulfilled and the customs authorities shall grant VAT exemption during import, provided that the seller's VAT/IOSS number is indicated on the import declaration and its validity is confirmed by Customs Authority. In the event that for any reason the seller's IOSS number is not indicated on the import declaration, the recipient of the parcel shall be charged with VAT which is paid to the import customs office. The buyer who paid twice the VAT may request a refund of this amount from the seller or the online platform.
Based on this regime, the recipient of the parcel is liable for VAT payment. However, the tax shall be paid on behalf of the consignee by the person presenting the commodities to the Customs Authorities (usually courier companies and postal service providers). The tax payment is carried out by deferred payment, on the 16th day of the following month from the certificate of debt, without requiring the issuance of a relevant license and provision of a guarantee. The application of the specific regime does not substantially differ from the existing VAT return procedures when importing commodities to the customs authorities.
Use of oversimplified statement H7
The scope of the oversimplified declaration H7 includes the commodities sent in consignments with a similar value not exceeding 150 Euros
The following are excluded from the scope of H7:
- commodities subject to excise duty or consumption tax
- New means of transport
- Commodities subject to prohibitions and restrictions
- Commodities released for free circulation using regimes 42 and 63 (import and re-import of commodities with VAT exemption and dispatch to another EU Member State)
- Commodities subject to anti-dumping duties and countervailing duties
- Commodities initially placed under customs saving or free zone (the exemption does not apply for commodities in temporary storage or transit).
The scope also includes individual-to-individual shipments with the same value not exceeding 150 Euros, including those for which exemption from customs duties is granted, in accordance with Article 25 of Regulation 1186/2009, which concerns non-commercial imports