E-commerce and the Law
Digitization always creates new legal issues, and a new e-commerce store is no different. How can a company store and use personal data in a legally compliant manner? Who is liable in the event of data loss? Is the private use of company email accounts permitted? These and other questions fall into the area of Law 4.0.
The complexity of IT legal issues is also increasing in medium-sized companies. Since data is one of the most important goods in the digital age, it is primarily about topics such as data protection, data sovereignty and data liability.
In order to keep pace with technological progress, the legal situation is also being further developed. The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Network Enforcement Act (NetzDG), the IT Security Act (IT-SiG) or the Trade Secrets Act (GeschGehG) pose new legal challenges for small and medium-sized companies. In order to meet these requirements, it is advisable to create a comprehensive information security concept for the company. All technical and organizational measures for compliance with all legal provisions should be listed therein.
This also includes the assignment of rights or the definition and documentation of processes with which IT security in the company is promoted or ensured. The concept should be written in such a way that everyone in the company who works with digital technologies understands and can implement the requirements and processes even without legal training. This concept is supplemented by structured measures such as the introduction of certain test rules and indicators for assessing the potential legal relevance, with the participation of non-lawyers and lawyers.
If you are a one-person business obviously the burden in terms of having a team to get across is not there, but regardless of the size, once you sell online you need to be fully legally compliant.
VAT digital package: Changes from July 1st, 2021
The one-stop shop procedure will replace the mini one-stop shop from July 1, 2021 and is a special regulation in the field of sales tax. It enables registered companies to submit a tax return to the Federal Central Tax Office (BZSt) that has been made from July 1, 2021 and is subject to the special regulation. At the same time, the import one-stop shop procedure will also be introduced. It is aimed at entrepreneurs who make distance sales of items imported from third countries in consignments with a material value of no more than EUR 150. It enables entrepreneurs to submit the sales falling under this special regulation in a central tax return to the BZSt, also from July 1, 2021.
Who can process which sales via the OSS?
German-based entrepreneurs who
- Provide services to private individuals in member states of the European Union in which they are not residents or make intra-Community distance sales of goods or
- provide an electronic interface through the use of which they support the delivery of goods within a Member State by a non-established taxable person and are therefore treated as if they had supplied the goods themselves; and
Entrepreneurs who are not residents in the European Union who
- domestically via a facility such as B. have a warehouse and
- deliver goods from it to private individuals in other EU member states
What possibilities does OSS offer?
In the case of other services and intra-Community distance sales falling within the scope of the special regulation, the place of performance is generally based on the place at which the item is at the end of the transport or dispatch to the purchaser, unless there is an exception. The entrepreneur now has the right to choose whether to register for VAT in the member states in which the services mentioned are carried out and whether to comply with his reporting and declaration obligations there, or whether he makes use of the simplification option provided by the special OSS regulation.
With OSS, entrepreneurs can declare their sales in a special tax return centrally via the Federal Central Tax Office (BZSt) and transmit them electronically. Thus, the resulting tax can be paid in full.
Important: Participation is voluntary. However, it applies uniformly to all EU member states.
VAT on e-Services becomes OSS (non-EU)
Entrepreneurs not living in the EU who, as taxpayers, provide certain services (telecommunications, radio and television services or electronic services) to private recipients living in the EU, must pay sales tax in the recipient's country. The former VAT on e-Services procedure will become OSS (non-EU) from July 1, 2021, and will offer a simplification for this. Participating entrepreneurs can declare their respective sales in a special tax return to a central office and pay the sales tax due there, see the information on the BZSt homepage.