Monday, 17 January, 2022

Taxing home delivered parcels: the idea is making e-merchants jump

A tax of 1 euro on each package paid online and delivered to your home? The idea is thrilling as all eyes are already on Black Friday and beyond, Christmas shopping. Far from being still a reality, this tax is however an idea carried by the Association of Mayors of France and defended in amendments by deputies, and in particular the LREM Benoit Potterie. Amendments to the 2019 draft budget, varying slightly from one another, which will be examined in committee this week.

“The objective is to correct a tax inequity between local businesses and online commerce” explains one in the entourage of Benoit Potterie. Because the tax aims to compensate for the measure at the heart of the amendments: the reduction of local taxation for local businesses. “A room of 100 square meters in a shopping street in Lille must pay 4,700 euros per year” quotes, for example, the entourage of Benoit Potterie. With this measure carried by the amendments tabled, small businesses – of less than 400 square meters – would benefit from a reduction of 10% on the property tax payable to municipalities and inter-municipal authorities.

According to the Association of Mayors of France, which is committed alongside the mayor of Cannes David Lisnard to defend this idea taken up by the deputies, estimates that this would be equivalent to a tax reduction of around 335 million euros. Millions which would therefore be offset by the tax on packages ordered online and delivered to homes. “Home delivery is an ecological disaster. With this tax, it is also a question of educating the consumer on this question” adds one in the entourage of Benoit Potterie. The tax would thus be flat – one euro whether you order a t-shirt or a sofa – and would not apply to click & collect, that is to say if it is delivered to a physical store in the ‘sign, in a relay point or in a post office.

“Harmful consequences” according to Fevad

E-merchants will be concerned in the foreground since the tax would be collected by the sellers. The federation of e-commerce and distance selling (Fevad), which brings together 600 companies and 800 websites, also split this Monday with a press release to “denounce the idea of ​​a new tax on purchases Internet “and its” particularly harmful consequences “. Fevad points out in particular the consequences on the consumer’s wallet, recalling that the delivery costs “are currently subject to VAT” and that an additional tax “will only fuel the feeling of fiscal fed-up”. The French living in rural areas would be strongly impacted even though they are “already particularly affected by the increase in fuel taxes” does not fail to slip the federation, recalling this measure which arouses outcry on the part of motorists.

But beyond the impact for the consumer, Fevad also stresses that reducing home deliveries would mean a tax loss for the State since they are subject to VAT and that this tax could “weaken the competitiveness of French companies and strengthen the attractiveness of foreign sites “. And could even slow down local shops wishing to develop their activity on the Internet. A height for a measure intended to favor these businesses and city centers while the vacancy rate reached 11.3% in France in 2016 against 6.2% in 2001, recalls the AMF. But “opposing e-commerce and commerce” is not the right solution to the revitalization of city centers, argues Fevad. This downtown issue has been the subject of a government assistance plan since March, but the recent amendments could put the subject back on the table. If a tax on home delivered parcels were to be adopted according to these amendments, it should in any case not apply before 1is January 2020. Internet users who plan to play Santa Claus online can take their breath away.