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eCommerce Industry Against Digital Services Tax


Ahead of the Meeting of Finance Ministers on 4 December 2018, EMOTA, the European eCommerce and Omni-Channel Trade Association calls on Member States not to rush any decision on the Digital Services Tax Proposal given the large number of serious concerns that have been voiced by Member States and various business sectors alike.


Instead, Member States should focus and support the accelerating work at OECD level, which is the optimal forum to review the appropriateness of the current international tax framework. Although some Member States fear that finding a solution on global level would take too long, the OECD Secretary General reported to the G20 leaders at their last summit, that significant progress has been made in agreeing on a common position and that an agreement by 2020 is within reach.[1]


EMOTA Secretary General Maurits Bruggink says: “There are two principal objections to the DST proposal. The first one is that it is not considering the unique position of eCommerce where the trade of physical goods on marketplaces is already subject to VAT. Any additional tax on the commission of sales on physical goods would constitute a hidden additional consumption tax that will be passed on to consumers. Secondly, in a more and more omni-channel world, a channel-specific tax would interfere with the free choice of consumers to select the channel they want to use. In addition, introducing a tax based on gross-revenues unilaterally in Europe will ultimately harm the competitiveness of European businesses, increase prices for consumers and lead to retaliatory measures from third countries.”


Finally, the proposed sunset clause is only a smokescreen and makes it very likely, that once adopted, DST would become a permanent tax measure that can only be changed or removed by unanimity in Council. Thus, Member States should not agree on a technically and legally flawed text because of self-set deadlines. This would run counter to any principles of good law-making. Therefore, we are calling on Member States to vote against the proposal and to end the discussion on DST in favour of an agreement at OECD level and support the good progress that has been made so far.



Maurits Bruggink, EMOTA Secretary General; +32 471 06 47 86



About EMOTA:The European Multi-Channel and Online Trade Association, EMOTA, is the voice of online and distance sellers in the EU. EMOTA represents online and distance sellers from around Europe, with member associations in 21 countries and both corporate and supplier members. EMOTA interacts with the European institutions to improve trading conditions and regulations.




[1]OECD Secretary-General Report to G20 Leaders, Buenos Aires, Argentina, December 2018.