It was expected, it happened: in 2019, French e-commerce crossed 100 billion euros in sales. La Fevad, federation of the sector, trumpeted the news on February 5. In twenty years, the sector’s turnover has multiplied by 150. A boon for the State? Not quite. According to an unpublished report from the General Inspectorate of Finance (IGF), unveiled on December 9, this sector would suffer massive VAT fraud. Electronics at reduced prices, iPhone at knockdown prices… There are as many good deals as they are doubtful on the Internet: if they are so attractive, it is because they are sold by thousands of small foreign merchants, often Chinese, who do not pay VAT. However, “the VAT is the tax which brings the most to the State, with more than 50% of the tax revenues”, recalls Elvire Tardivon Lorizon, associate lawyer with Grant Thornton Law firm.
Distortion of competition
The phenomenon is not new, but it has embraced the dizzying rise of the marketplaces. This part of e-commerce sites such as Cdiscount, Amazon or Fnac-Darty which connects consumers to sellers around the world now accounts for more than 30% of their sales. “The market place has solved the problem of the depth of the offer and that of the economic model, thanks to a commission on sales”, points out Emmanuel Grenier, CEO of Cdiscount, who is careful not to communicate the share of Chinese traders . Same silence among the competitors.