Tax on electronic purchases from abroad: An expert explains

The Government Council recently adopted Decree No. 2.22.438, aimed at strengthening customs control on shipments of goods acquired abroad via electronic transactions. From this month of July therefore, all purchases made from abroad through electronic platforms, whatever their amount, will be subject to customs duties. Note that this does not apply to non-commercial items received from abroad whose value does not exceed 1,250 DH.

In this regard, Dr. Fouad Benseghir, Professor at the Faculty of Law of Mohammedia, and expert in electronic law, explains to us that ” the Customs and Indirect Tax Administration (ADII) has found that shipments linked to certain international e-commerce platforms are in fact imports of large quantities of goods under cover of designated customs facilities for non-commercial shipments“.

” HASBefore the approval and ratification of this bill, Moroccans did not pay any customs duties for their purchases via international electronic platforms whose financial value was less than 1250 dirhams. However, some have taken advantage of this customs exemption by importing large quantities of goods through these international platforms. “as noted by the Customs and Indirect Tax Administration,” adds Benseghir, also President of the Moroccan Center for Studies on the Digital Economy.

The new text of the article relating to the question, after the approval by the Council of Ministers of draft decree No. 2.22.438, amending the implementing decree of the Customs and Indirect July 1, 2022, stipulates that customs duties will now be imposed on purchases made on international e-commerce platforms. This project aims, according to the Executive, to ” strengthen customs control of shipments related to transactions made through international e-commerce platforms “, by modifying the provisions of Chapter 190-C-2 of Decree No. 2.77.862. The objective through this, according to Dr. Benseghir, being to exclude from the exemption from customs duties on imports, transactions carried out via electronic platforms, whatever the value of these shipments.

So what are the reasons for the promulgation of this project? Previously, the Electronic Law consultant will say, “ products and items purchased through international e-commerce platforms with a value of less than 1,250 dirhams were exempt from customs duties”. This means that before that, Moroccans did not pay any customs duties for their purchases via these platforms. However, some have taken advantage of this customs exemption by importing large quantities of goods“, the relief having given rise to fraudulent practices aimed at avoiding the payment of customs duties by splitting the shipments so as not to exceed the limit sum of 1,250 dirhams.

Also, continues the academic, the ADII has found that the shipments linked to certain international e-commerce platforms are, in fact, operations for the importation of large quantities of goods under the guise of customs facilities designated for exceptional shipments of a non-commercial nature“. This fraud is done by concealing the value of the authorized assets (so that it does not exceed 1250 dirhams), or by distributing it among several beneficiaries, even though the real buyer is the same person“, in order to benefit from the mentioned customs exemption.

For this reason, Dr. Benseghir will say ““The ADII decided with regard to purchases via international e-commerce platforms, the exemption of fees in order to eliminate the tax evasion that accompanied purchases on international e-commerce platforms. This means that when this decree comes into force on 1er July 2022, the Customs and Excise Administration will impose duties on all international e-commerce shipments, regardless of the amount of the shipment“.

He will conclude by saying ” If it is necessary to strengthen customs control of international e-commerce shipments to ensure compliance with the controls governing foreign trade related to these transactions, the provisions of Chapter 190-C-2 of Decree No. 77-2862 of 25 Choual 1397 (October 9, 1977) will be modified to apply the Code of Customs and Indirect Taxes ratified by Dahir n° 1.77.339 of choual 25, 1397 (October 9, 1977) as law “.

This amounts to abandoning the legal provision according to which the legislator distinguished between imported products whose value is less than 1250 dirhams exempt from customs duties, and those whose value exceeds this amount for which their owners pay customs duties. in force.

From now on, anyone who imports products through international e-commerce platforms will have to pay the applicable customs duties, regardless of their value.

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