BERLIN: The German government has launched a crackdown on a problem that has long bedeviled U.S. states online retailers who don’t pay any sales tax. The problem in Germany is with Chinese traders, who make up about a third of transactions on platforms such as Amazon and Ebay. One trading expert told Handelsblatt that Germany could be losing €1 billion ($1.2 billion) a year in revenues.
At the height of the Christmas shopping season, tax authorities from the Neukölln borough of Berlin, which has the responsibility for the tax registration of Chinese companies selling goods in Germany, raided an Amazon warehouse and seized goods worth millions of euros being stored for nearly a hundred Chinese merchants. Amazon also froze the traders’ accounts with the platform.