E-commerce: loss of 500 million DH per year

The Customs and Indirect Tax Administration declares war on fraudsters on e-commerce sites. As of July 1, 2022, purchases made through e-commerce sites will be exempt from import customs duty, regardless of value. A war that could do a lot of good for customs revenues.

No more bamboola for purchases through international e-commerce platforms. From July 1, 2022, purchases made through e-commerce sites will be excluded from the exemption from import customs duties, regardless of the value, warns the Customs Administration and Indirect Taxes (ADII).

The Governing Council also approved a decree (22.22.438) last Thursday, giving carte blanche to the foreign trade police officer, which specifies, however, that this provision does not apply to remittances of a non-commercial nature received from foreigners whose value not exceeding 1,250 dirhams, which will continue to benefit from the customs exemption in accordance with the aforementioned decree.

Finally, continues the ADII, 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 rather aims to protect both the citizen and the local economy. It all started with an alarming remark.

While e-commerce through international platforms is booming, the turnover achieved in Morocco by some of these platforms exceeded one billion dirhams in 2021. A figure that could reach 2 billion dirhams this year.

At the same time, “illegal practices” linked to this activity develop. Because, argues the customs administration, following several investigations, it was found that the shipments sent by certain international electronic 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 goods of low value.

This situation, continues the same source, led to the emergence of an informal market that consists of the resale of items purchased through international e-commerce sites, using fraud on the declared value of purchases (under-invoicing) or distributing them among several beneficiaries, when the real purchaser is the same person, in order to benefit from customs exemption and circumvent the control rules relating to consumer protection.

To remedy this situation, the reinforcement of customs control of electronic commerce shipments proved necessary, justifies the administration, which considers that these practices constitute unfair competition for the local industry and formal commerce and a loss of revenue. may pose a health hazard to the consumer.

An argument that convinces many experts because, according to them, Moroccan retailers will be forced to revise their prices upwards to meet local market rates.

A significant financial gain
The decision to classify exceptional shipments that are devoid of any commercial character will also have a definitive positive impact on the State’s customs revenue. Of the billion dirhams (MMDH) of invoicing carried out in Morocco by some of these platforms, there are 200 million dirhams (MDH) of customs revenue lost just for VAT purposes.

If we add customs duties, it is necessary to account for wholesale 500 MDH per year of loss. A significant financial gain in these times of crisis in which the State is called upon to plug the gaps. But this decision, which intervenes to strengthen customs control over shipments related to transactions carried out through electronic platforms, is already making people tremble.

“We must still expect fraudulent practices from dishonest local traders who will do everything to continue to benefit from the exemption from customs duties on transactions worth less than 1,250 dirhams”, laments an expert for whom he had to raise the bar to at least 2,000 DH to allow young people pay for gadgets that Morocco does not manufacture. And even at that level, zero risk does not exist. The ideal, he says, would be to encourage more made in Morocco. “We know how to make the products we buy on international platforms. All it takes is a small boost and we no longer have to spend billions online at the expense of the national economy,” he insists.

Khadim Mbaye / ECO Inspirations

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