As of July 1, 2021, Value Added Tax (VAT) regulations related to the taxation of e-commerce transactions were implemented in compliance with the transposition into Spanish law of Directive 2017/2455. This regulation introduced a notional provision according to which, when certain online deliveries of goods are made through a digital platform, the platform itself is considered to be the supplier of the goods to the consumers who purchase them, exclusively for the purposes of applying VAT. Consequently, the platform assumes the responsibility of charging and depositing VAT in favor of the tax administration by filing the corresponding returns through the single window regime.
Article 5b of Implementing Regulation 282/2011, which is part of the Community legislation, establishes that digital platforms that are limited only to the processing of payments related to the supply of goods will not be affected by the aforementioned fictitious provision. Therefore, these platforms will not be obliged to assume the significant responsibility of collecting VAT from the final purchasers of the goods and making its subsequent payment in favor of the tax administration.
At that time, a new EU Directive was in preparation that would impose a new and demanding formal obligation on this type of activity. We are referring to Directive 2020/284, which amends the VAT Directive to introduce certain requirements applicable to payment service providers. This Directive, which will enter into force on January 1, 2024 in all EU Member States, aims to require online payment service providers to provide the tax authorities with regular information on certain payments in which they are involved.
The new obligation establishes that payment service providers that have their “home or host Member State” in Spain must keep a detailed record of the payees and payments related to the payment services they offer in each calendar quarter. The home Member State will be considered to be Spain when the payment service provider has its place of business in Spanish territory. On the other hand, the host Member State will be considered to be Spain when the provider does not have its place of business in Spanish territory, but has an agent or a branch in the country from which it provides payment services. The aforementioned obligation shall only apply to payment services where the payer is located in a Member State and the payee is located in another Member State or in a country or territory outside the European Union.
In addition, this obligation will apply only when, during a calendar quarter, a payment service provider makes more than 25 cross-border payments to the same payee. It is important to note that this new obligation refers exclusively to payment or money transfer services, and does not include, for example, redeemable checks or vouchers.
The payment service providers that must comply with this new regulation are the entities and bodies mentioned in articles 5.1 and 5.2 of Royal Decree-Law 19/2018, which addresses payment services and other urgent measures in financial matters. This category includes not only traditional credit institutions, but also electronic money institutions and the Sociedad Estatal de Correos.
Although the obligation will come into force on January 1, 2024, it is important that affected payment service providers begin to familiarize themselves as early as possible with its scope, as it appears that they will need to make a significant effort to adapt their internal systems and procedures to ensure compliance. This is due to the complexity of the obligation and the fact that the information provided to the tax administration will have to be in digital format.
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