a Little time? At the end of text there is a summary.

the inscription of this parcel from China is a blatant lie. “Commercial Sample”, “sample”, written by the traders in the customs Declaration. And as the value he has given five dollars. It worked: The customs has the shipment without any further consideration by waving.

in fact, no goods in the package pattern. But a drone, which has sold to the dealer: the Shopping App Wish, for 34 euros plus nine Euro shipping. And at that price, the seller or the buyer has to pay import turnover tax to the German state – as required by the law. “That does not happen intentionally, it’s tax evasion,” says Hans-Michael Wolff-speed, Professor of customs law at the University of Münster.

It is Far from the only case of tax fraud in online trading. As a current MIRROR shows Research, many foreign retailers on E-Commerce platforms such as Wishlist or Amazon Marketplace, still, no sales tax, if you sell products to Germany. Your customers can come to the in the end expensive.

losses in the millions due to tax fraud

For years, E-Commerce, traders from the far East, above all, systematically, the German VAT. The principle is simple: you deliver your goods in the Federal Republic of numbers in this country, but not one Cent to the Treasury. Law enforcement do not need to fear in the “tax haven of the Internet,” as the Federal court of auditors in 2015, wrote. You are so far away. This sellers a competitive advantage over local retailers that not get around the sales tax. Traders from the far East can offer their Goods cheaper.

hundreds of millions of euros in loses, the Federal Republic of fraud every year through this tax. The German Finance Minister, Olaf Scholz, is now trying to stop the illegal Goings-on. 1. January 2019 to be taken, the operator of Online marketplaces for the sales tax of your dealer in liability. Only if companies such as Amazon and Ebay to submit to the tax authorities a certificate of tax registration of the seller that are active will not be liable to you. Otherwise, you must self-pay the sales tax.

However, test purchases of the MIRROR show: a Few days before the entry into force of the new rules of sales tax evasion in E-Commerce is still a common practice.

Only one of the eight invoices correctly

We have purchased in the past few weeks, eight of the products on Amazon and Wish: electronics, baby items and toys. Later, we have requested from the sellers an invoice with the VAT and all supporting documents by Nathalie Harksen, managing partner of the tax consulting firm AWB, analyze.

result: “Only a single calculation seems to be correct,” says Harksen. Here’s a UK based seller calculated a diaper bag with a UK tax code and UK tax; in the case of small sales to end users, this is, in certain cases, in conformity with the law. In the seven remaining cases, the data do not fit together in the back and the front. In all probability, the German state has gotten so out of the eight purchases of the MIRROR on Amazon and Wish-dealers, not a single Cent in sales tax.

“amazes Me that Amazon can get away with it”

“Unfortunately, we are Online seller and we have only a commercial invoice without the Value Added Tax (VAT),” writes Yvonne from China, sold through Amazon Marketplace baby balls. Cindy from Hong Kong, the offering on the same market in the EU, illegal low beam, informs: “Our VAT identification number in Germany has not been issued.”

the Other Amazon Marketplace vendors showed, while 19 per cent VAT on their invoices, but no VAT number. “Without a VAT number, the dealer can pay in this country, no sales tax,” says tax expert Harksen. “The fact that Amazon lets this go through, amazes me.” The seller do not specify a VAT number on your invoices, that doesn’t mean that you have no such number. But it is very likely.

More on the topic: that cheap goods from the network can health

threaten Amazon does not Tolerate aware of tax evasion on his platform? The evidence suggests that the global group-hearted leads the fight against dubious providers. An Amazon spokesperson explained that the company support at any time the compliance with tax obligations. “We will suspend a seller’s account immediately, if a German tax authority does not notify the seller will not comply with tax obligations.”

in Addition, you’ve established “processes, to check the seller’s account, and to take appropriate action against the seller”. However, Amazon have currently “neither legally nor technically, the ability to check a VAT number, and we can’t determine whether a seller meets its tax obligations”.

Wish-the buyer is responsible?

A still more specific case, the Wish is: The Shopping App, sent to us via your payment service provider Klarna, an “invoice document” for two products. Here, neither the German value-added tax was still listed on a German VAT number.

When we complained about this with the customer hotlines of both companies, stated Wish, and Klarna, again and again, you should contact the other company. A spokesman of the Wish has not commented on the request to the specific case, but explained in a General Statement: “Wish recommends to its dealers, that you consult with tax experts and commits you to complying with all laws, including the payment of all sales taxes. In countries where the law requires, does Wish sales tax and you.”

But the suspicion is that Wish and its dealers to pay in this country, no sales tax. This shows the bill – and also the accurate view into the small print. In the General terms and conditions, the need to mark every Wish a customer immediately before the purchase, as read, is far below this sentence: “your purchases can be used to control specific sales, customs duties or value-added taxes, and the delivery time and the associated costs may increase as a result.” This would mean nothing else than that the Wish of customers for the payment of VAT and customs duties, is responsible.

This can be costly. Because if customs intercepts a shipment on which the corresponding taxes have been paid, is called in the receivers in General, to the Customs post office. There is then opened the shipment, the customer must submit the invoice. And pay import turnover tax from 22 Euro, 115 Euro for customs. “If the recipient refuses the goods will be sent back or destroyed,” says the customs law expert Wolff. And then the Wish can walk a customer of his pre-paid money afterwards.

There is still much to do for Olaf Scholz and his people.

Summary: Many foreign traders who offer on Amazon and Wish your Were, still no sales tax. Even if the platforms 1. January for the sales tax of your dealer in liability, will be shortly before the date, still sells many of the products without or with wrong information on the tax number. So damages in the amount of hundreds of millions of euros for the Treasury. However, for customers it can be expensive, because if customs intercepts a shipment on which the corresponding taxes have been paid, be required by the recipient later tax payments.

Sam Yoon has many years of experiences in journalism. He has covered such areas as information technology, science, sports and politics. Yoon can be reached at 82-2-6956-6698.