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E-commerce: sales to European consumers from 1 July 2021

by Fulvia Di Oronzo | Jul 6, 2021 | Blog

With the transposition of the provisions contained in Articles 2 and 3 of EU Directive n.2017/2455, EU Directive 2019/1995 and Legislative Decree 83/2021 relating to the provision of services and distance sales of goods carried out within the EU, as of 1 July 2021 new rules for e-commerce will come into force. This will affect businesses that carry out distance sales of goods to private individuals in other EU Member States, limited to sales carried out directly or via their own website, thus excluding sales facilitated by electronic interfaces, unless the marketplace merely acts as an intermediary and only facilitates sales by putting the seller and the end buyer in contact and the sale takes place directly between supplier and customer.

The first aspect concerns the threshold-amount set for such transactions: companies selling to private individuals in other EU countries, intervening in transport, must consider that, once the single threshold, net of VAT, of 10,000 Euro is exceeded, VAT is due in the State of destination of the goods. The new limit is to be calculated by adding up the sales made in all EU countries; therefore, the so-called “protection thresholds” for sales of goods to consumers in other EU countries, previously fixed in euros, will no longer exist. In addition to intra-EU distance sales, TTE (Telecommunication, Broadcasting and Electronic) services to EU private individuals will also be included in the calculation of the €10,000 limit, while domestic distance sales and B2C services will not.




When the single threshold of EUR 10,000 is exceeded, businesses have two options:

  1. identification for VAT purposes or appointment of a tax representative in each individual Member State where they make sales in order to apply local VAT with the relevant rules;
  2. join the new OSS (One-Stop Shop) scheme which allows them to apply the tax of the other state without opening a local VAT position. Membership can only take place in one EU country. Under the new special scheme there is no obligation to issue an invoice; should the need arise, the rules of the country in which the company has decided to register under the new scheme should apply. The sales tax in each EU country, with its respective rates, will be declared and paid quarterly to the national treasury and then distributed among the various countries. Those who join the scheme are obliged to apply it for a minimum period of two years.




In fact, the OSS is an option for EU traders to simplify their VAT obligations by allowing them to:

  • Electronically register VAT in a single Member State for all eligible sales of goods and services to customers located in all other 26 Member States;
  • Declare by means of a single electronic declaration, making a single payment, the VAT due on all distance sales made within the Community;
  • To cooperate with the tax administration of only one Member State, the one in which one is registered, and using only one language.


In Italy, the Operational Centre in Pescara (Cop) has been designated as the competent office to carry out the activities related to the OSS special schemes for e-commerce activities.



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