Clarifications and clarifications from Customs on the taxation of electronic purchases from abroad

The decree establishing this new measure was approved by the Government Council, this Thursday, June 16. As soon as the measure was announced, doubts about the reasons for the taxation of online purchases through foreign websites and its frequency multiplied.

A source from the Customs Administration and Indirect Taxes (ADII) confided in Médias24 about this matter. “There has been an extremely significant shift in e-commerce shipments from online shopping from foreign platforms that do not have a presence in Morocco. »

“Online shopping has been exploding since Covid, it’s exponential. In 2021, they reached one billion dirhams. The estimate for 2022 is 2 billion dirhams”, specifies our interlocutor.

Shopping without paying taxes or customs fees, taking advantage of a regulatory loophole, unlike other operators – including e-commerce platforms – who pay their taxes.

“Some platforms highlight the 1,250 DH franchise. When the shopping cart reaches 1,250 DH, the customer receives a message advising him to stop because there is a risk of paying customs duties, thus encouraging the customer to split his purchases”, continues our source.

ADII, therefore, made contact, almost two months ago, with these platforms to inform them that Morocco would abolish the franchise. She also blocked the goods at customs, when conducting negotiations.

It should be noted that this measure only applies to purchases made online from Morocco, whose goods are shipped through these electronic platforms.

From private to private, the deductible of 1,250 DH remains in effect.

So, if we take the example of an MRE who buys a good – even online – and sends it to a member of his family in Morocco, he will not be affected by this measure and this operation will be able to benefit from the 1,250 DH deductible.

fraudulent practices

The use of franchising, combined with the low prices charged by these platforms, has encouraged informal commerce. This is the second reason why the customs administration decided to act.

“Traders discovered this way and began to buy products on websites, mainly Chinese, that they resell in Morocco”, we are told.

The blockade operated by the customs services as part of their negotiation process with these places, ahead of Shein, lifted the veil on the importance of the informal trade that took place. Several people complained that their assets were blocked. Some mentioned goods worth 100,000 DH. Others speak of several tens of thousands of dirhams.

Thus, this franchise created a competitive distortion, accuses the Customs; both in relation to operators established in Morocco, who import by paying their taxes duly, and in relation to other platforms that respect the rules.

ADII has therefore asked all those platforms that have benefited from the franchise to commit to respecting the measure once it was introduced in July 2022.

The abolition of the franchise will give rise to the payment of the various taxes (Taxes, VAT) by the recipient or sender of the goods.

These duties and taxes depend on the origin of the product. In case there is a free trade agreement (FTA) with the country, the duties can be exempt, excluding VAT. In the absence of an FTA, applicable fees and taxes must be paid. According to our source at ADII:

– a CUBA for all products is generally 20% ;

– for the clothes/textiles : import duty (DI) it’s usually 40%, the parafiscal import tax is 0.25%. The import tax for textiles of Turkish origin is 36%;

– for products electronic in general, the Import tax is 2.5%the parafiscal import tax is 0.25%;

– within the framework of free trade agreements, there is only VAT to payexcept the mentioned case of Turkey.

A worldwide trend

“We explain to these platforms that, when they sell online, they must now take into account the rights component. Or the price does not include customs duties and therefore customers, who must pay them upon receipt, must be informed in advance. Or the duties are included in the price and, in this case, it is the platform that unloads all the goods that it sends to Morocco”, explains our source.

That said, the ADII recommends that platforms take care of the customs clearance procedure. “It would be complicated for people to always come to customs to pay and collect their deliveries. »

The model desired by ADII is simple: the platform ships the products, pays customs fees and distributes them to its customers.

According to our source, the removal of the online shopping exemption is a global phenomenon. Every country in the world is returning to one e-commerce sales tax.

Europe has advanced step by step. The European Union (EU) introduced VAT for the first time. Since July 1, 2021, VAT on online purchases is due from the first euro and customs duties are due from 150 euros. The abolition of the 150 euro deductible is being studied by the EU.

In a press release published this Friday, June 17, the ADII specifies that “this measure is in no way intended to undermine consumer purchasing freedom through international trade platforms, but aims to protect both the citizen and the local economy. .

Here is the full press release issued by the ADII this Friday, June 17, 2022:

“E-commerce via international platforms has recently experienced exponential growth; the turnover achieved in Morocco by some of these platforms exceeded one billion dirhams in 2021. Following investigations carried out by the Administration of Customs and Indirect Taxes, it was found that illegal practices were behind this worrying development. It was also found that the shipments sent by certain international e-commerce platforms actually consist of import operations of large quantities of goods, under the customs facilities provided for exceptional shipments of a non-commercial nature, as well as low-value goods.

“This situation has led to the emergence of an informal market that consists of the resale of items purchased through international e-commerce sites, using fraud in the declared value of purchases (under-invoicing) or distributing them among several beneficiaries, while the real buyer is the buyer. same person, in order to benefit from the customs exemption and circumvent the control rules related to consumer protection. Practices that favor the establishment of a climate of unfair competition for local industry and formal commerce and constitute a danger to consumer health and loss of revenue for the State.

“To remedy this situation, it is necessary to strengthen the customs control of e-commerce shipments to enforce the regulations governing foreign trade applicable to these operations, amending the provisions of article 190-e)-2 of Decree no. 2- 77-862 that governs exceptional shipments devoid of any commercial nature.

As of July 1, 2022, purchases made through international e-commerce platforms will be excluded from the exemption from import customs duties, regardless of the value.

“It should be noted that this provision does not apply to non-commercial goods received from abroad whose value does not exceed 1,250 dirhams that will continue to benefit from customs exemption in accordance with the aforementioned decree.

“Finally, it should be noted that this measure is in no way intended to undermine the consumer’s freedom to buy through international trade platforms, but aims to protect both the citizen and the local economy. » [FIN DU COMMUNIQUE]

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