German tax office targets Chinese online retailers: Handelsblatt

FILE PHOTO: A view of the new Amazon logistic center with the company's logo in Dortmund, Germany November 14, 2017. REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen

FRANKFURT/BERLIN (Reuters) - German tax investigators have seized goods and accounts of about 100 Chinese online retailers selling products via Inc AMZN.O in Germany and failing to pay sales taxes, daily Handelsblatt reported on Thursday, citing industry sources.

The investigation is led by the Berlin-Neukoelln tax office, which is responsible for value added tax (VAT) registration of Chinese retailers in Germany, the paper said. The federal state of Berlin declined to comment.

Amazon said that retailers using the U.S. group’s platform as a marketplace are independent enterprises and are responsible for their own tax obligations.

A German taxpayers’ union said in November that Germany could be losing out on 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) annually because online retailers from China, or other non-EU states, fail to pay value added taxes of 19 percent, knowingly or not.

Britain in November said it would introduce measures to hold online marketplaces like eBay EBAY.O and accountable when sellers on their platforms do not collect and pay VAT.

Reporting by Matthias Inverardi and Tom Koerkemeier; Writing by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle