Ireland - eCommerceIreland - eCommerce
The Irish Government’s attitude and approach to internet-related issues is progressive and facilitative. Ireland was one of the first EU member states to implement the Electronic Signatures Directive through the Electronic Commerce Act 2000 (ECA). Ireland has also implemented the Electronic Commerce Directive. The general legislative approach is consistent with the government’s stated aim of retaining a light and flexible technology-neutral regulatory regime in this area.
Increased household internet access (82%) has seen Irish online retailing activity grow to $5.8 billion during 2015 – an increase of 15% from 2014. Over 40% of Irish consumers shop online, compared with just 14% back in 2004. Travel, hotel accommodation and event ticketing are the principal goods and services bought online.
More Irish firms are creating online sales portals on the back of successful online activities of firms such as Aer Lingus, Ryanair, and Ticketmaster. Retail Ireland’s Online Retailing Survey 2013 reports that 84% of retailers have an online presence while 64% intend to upgrade their presence in the next 18 months. The majority of retailers also advertise on social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter and over 50% have plans to focus on smartphone applications and tablet technology. U.S. companies such as Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, eBay, PayPal, Yahoo and Amazon have all established significant operations in Ireland.
According to EuroMonitor International, internet retailing in Ireland continues to expand rapidly with mobile internet retailing becoming especially significant. Retailers are launching fully-functional mobile apps while store-based retailers are increasingly utilizing multi-channel options. Click-&-collect services have become more widely available, allowing retailers to maximize retail potential without incurring delivery fees, while the consumer has almost immediate access to purchases without having to plan for deliveries.
The Electronic Commerce Directive (2000/31/EC) mentioned in the direct marketing section above provides rules for online services in the EU. It requires providers to abide by rules in the country where they are established (country of origin). Online providers must respect consumer protection rules such as indicating contact details on their website, clearly identifying advertising and protecting against spam. The Directive also grants exemptions to liability for intermediaries that transmit illegal content by third parties and for unknowingly hosting content. The European Commission is currently holding consultations on creating the Digital Single Market (DSM), which is focused on giving better access to online services, creating an environment where digital companies can prosper, and creating growth.
Electronic Commerce Directive (2000/31/EC): http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/e-commerce/directive_en.htm
The EU applies Value Added Tax (VAT) to sales by non-EU based companies of Electronically Supplied Services (ESS) to EU-based non-business customers. U.S. companies that are covered by the rule must collect and submit VAT to EU tax authorities. From 1 January 2015, all supplies of telecommunications, broadcasting and electronic services are taxable at the place where the customer is located. In the case of businesses this means either the country where it is registered or the country where it has fixed premises receiving the service. In the case of consumers, it is where they are registered, have their permanent address, or usually live.
As part of the legislative changes of 2015, the Commission has launched the Mini One Stop Shop (MOSS) scheme, use of which is optional. It is meant to facilitate the sales of ESS from taxable to non-taxable persons (B2C) located in Member States in which the sellers do not have an establishment to account for the VAT.
This scheme allows taxable persons (sellers) to avoid registering in each Member State of consumption. A taxable person who is registered for the Mini One Stop Shop (MOSS) in a Member State (the Member State of Identification) can electronically submit quarterly MOSS VAT returns detailing supplies of ESS to non-taxable persons in other Member States (the Member State(s) of consumption), along with the VAT due. Visit here for details of Ireland’s MOSS registration system.
The most important pieces of legislation on VAT are the EU VAT Directive 2006/112/EC and its Implementing Regulation 282/2011.
Click here for further information relating to VAT on ESS: http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/taxation/vat/how_vat_works/telecom/index_en.htm#onestopshop.
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