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German tax office targets Chinese online retailers

German tax office targets Chinese online retailers

BERLIN: German tax investigators have seized goods and accounts of about 100 Chinese online retailers selling products via Amazon.com Inc in Germany and failing to pay sales taxes, daily Handelsblatt reported on Thursday, citing industry sources. The investigation is led by the Berlin-Neukoelln tax office, which is responsible for value added tax (VAT) registration of Chinese retailers in Germany, the paper said. The federal state of Berlin declined to comment. Amazon said that retailers using the U.S. group’s platform as a marketplace are independent enterprises and are responsible for their own tax obligations.

A German taxpayers’ union said in November that Germany could be losing out on 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) annually because online retailers from China, or other non-EU states, fail to pay value added taxes of 19 percent, knowingly or not.