Europe - Do we need an Amazon tax? – CityLogistics

Barcelona is to become the first Spanish city to implement a so-called ‘Amazon tax,’ targeting online sellers such as e-commerce giant Amazon. The levy aims to tax these companies for using public space by delivery vehicles and to level the playing field for local small businesses.

From February 2023, all postal operators with an annual turnover of more than one million euros will be taxed and have to pay 1,25% of their gross revenues (bringing in an expected 2,6 mln euros). The tax will not be applied when deliveries are left at collection points rather than taken to the consumer’s door.

Wow, I expect them to fight this. I haven’t heard about this before.

The US you might say has a similar tax at the state (and other levels) now that in the beginning of eCommerce was not present. I’m not familiar enough with European local tax codes to understand if this is starting to become a trend.

European tax codes: European countries usually charge a country-wide Value added tax, and in most cases this is “embedded” into the posted price, not added on at the time of sale (instore or online). VAT doesn’t vary between channels. Shipping and handling charges are also subject to VAT (at a top rate or rate aligned to the blend rate of the items sold if there are different product rates present)

In some cases, in some countries, VAT can be removed from the sale price at point of sale (e.g. sales to charity with some auditable data captured to justify).

Retail stores and warehouses usually pay some form of occupation tax, based on property value or notional rental value. This may be set nationally or locally. There may be some environmental charges as well (e.g. tax on rubbish sent to landfill).

There is complexity if a sale is made cross border, as VAT rates vary by country, but that’s way too complex to summarise in a short “sound bite”.

What Barcelona is proposing is a new tax “in the middle”, which the ecommerce retailers would pass onto the customer in the form of an increased delivery charge