Amazon started as online book store and has grown to be the worlds largest online retailer.
Amazon demand European VAT numbers from US sellers
There’s been some concern about an email Amazon sent to merchants, both in the EU and the US, regarding uploading French VAT numbers to Amazon. The email didn’t have much explanation about who it was intended for, so it’s understandable that some US sellers were more than a little perturbed at the strident tone of the first line ordering them to “Please upload your French and all other European VAT numbers on Seller Central now to avoid account suspension”.
The reality is that if you are a US based seller with a North American unified Amazon account you are of course under no obligation to upload French VAT, or indeed any European VAT numbers, to Amazon and your US account will certainly not be suspended if you don’t. You are only under an obligation to register for VAT and upload your European VAT numbers if you are trading in Europe.
It’s no surprise that Amazon are ensuring that all merchants are aware of the need to upload European VAT numbers to their marketplaces if they are selling in Europe. However the email could have been a little clearer to emphasise that for those not selling in Europe it’s for future advice only in case they decide to sell in Europe at some point in the future.
Please upload your French and all other European VAT numbers on Seller Central now to avoid account suspension.
In January 2020, in accordance with the French Anti-Fraud Act, we provided the French Tax Authority with data regarding your 2019 Amazon business. This tax law requires us to disclose the tax identification number (including French and European VAT numbers) of all sellers who make sales to customers in France, store inventory in France or are legally established in France.
Please upload at least one of your European (including French) VAT number: If you are required to be VAT registered in France, upload your French VAT number. If you are not required to be VAT registered in France, upload all other VAT numbers issued by European Union member states.
If you assess that you need to be VAT registered, please apply for your VAT number today. The French Tax Authority may use your data to assess your compliance with French tax requirements. If they find you are non-compliant, including not having a VAT number, they may direct us to suspend your account and prevent you from selling to customers in France.”
– Seller email from Amazon
Amazon repeatedly uses the VAT requirement to scare merchants into using their VAT services. It is likely that the above email will be followed by repeated requests to use their VAT services as has been our experience with the German VAT requirement.
I received a ‘courtesy’ e-mail today an invoice for the services of an Amazon affiliate for the purposes of registering me for VAT in CZ and PL. It was approximately £2,400.00. I say ‘courtesy’ because I will be fully compensated for this sum by Amazon – as I was given a ‘freebee’ for this purpose. I had previously registered myself in the UK/DE and Italy at a nil cost (other than some of my time) but if Amazon was willing to pay for CZ and PL – why not?