Recently, the European Commission launched a survey on the overhaul of EU rules governing e-commerce transactions from third countries from a customs and taxation perspective. The survey address issues related to both customs, VAT and excise duties.

The survey states that whilst digitalisation of the economy and the increasing role of e-commerce offers a great potential for consumers and traders, it also present challenges. In addition, COVID-19 has increased the level of e-commerce import volumes significantly and this growth is expected to continue. For that reason, the European Commission considers it vital to strengthen the legal framework already in place by increasing the responsibilities of online marketplaces and platforms in relation to customs duty and import tax collection procedures. It states that cooperation between Customs and Tax Authorities and the cooperation with other authorities for the controls for safety and security purposes also plays a vital role.

On the other hand, the survey acknowledges that consumers needs simple rules and procedures to comply with their obligations to pay import duties and taxes. Consumers also tend to prefer paying all-inclusive prices at the checkout rather than facing further charges upon delivery (e.g. via couriers).

Therefore, the European Commission is working on revisiting the customs and taxation collection systems for e-commerce and on identifying innovative customs control approaches for e-commerce imports.

This survey closes on 10 March 2022. If you wish to participate, please find the survey here.


Emily Thomson is an associate at the Firm's London office and is a member of the International Commercial & Trade and Antitrust & Competition practice groups. She completed her Law degree at York University, then a Legal Practice Course (LLM) from BPP University in 2019. Emily joined Baker McKenzie as a trainee in September 2019, qualifying in September 2021.