- The email comes comes in response to the entry into force of the tax on January 16th.
- The referral fee is the commission that Amazon takes from each product that a retailer sells through its platform, which is usually around 15%.
- Amazon has been against the "Google Rate," approved by the Spanish government and that other governments have already established or plan to do so.
Amazon Spain is going to pass the 3% tax that will be levied on income from digital services of large technology companies on to the companies that sell through its platform. The e-commerce company has communicated to external sellers by email that as of April 1st, it will increase the commission charged to them for intermediation by 3%.
That comes in response to the entry into force of the tax on January 16th. According to the mail that retailers have received, “as of April 1, it will increase referral rates by 3% for products sold in Spain to reflect this additional tax.”
The referral fee is the commission that Amazon takes from each product that a retailer sells through its platform, which is usually around 15%. As Amazon exemplifies Spanish sellers, including 9,000 SMEs, if a product sells for €100 with a referral fee of 15%, Amazon takes €15 from the sale.
With the increase, the rate will become 15.45% and Amazon will take €15.45 from that sale. The date is set to April 1 to allow time for the government to complete secondary legislation on the rate.
Amazon has two ways to sell. For one, like any other retailer, it has its own inventory, buys items, and puts them up for sale, taking the difference. On the other, it gives entry to its platform to other retailers, so that they expose their products on Amazon, which is called a marketplace.
Amazon is a great search engine, and being on its storefront can boost a seller’s sales. In exchange for that presence and other services, such as logistics or other digital services, Amazon charges a commission, the referral fee. This “intermediation” is the one that is affected by the rise, while the company’s retail activity is not affected.
Amazon has been against the “Google Rate,” approved by the Spanish government and that other governments have already established or plan to do so. Amazon has called for a “global solution” on this and other fees to the new digital economy within the framework of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) “so that the rules are consistent in all countries and clearer and fair for companies.”
However, international efforts on these new taxes are stuck in international organizations, where the opposition of the United States weighs, from where many of these multinationals come, such as Amazon, Apple, Google or Facebook.
The OECD itself, which groups together the 36 most developed economies, planned to approve in 2020 a design for a tax on digital services at the global level, but the attempt failed and was postponed to mid-2021.
Companies such as Amazon have asked governments like the Spanish and French not to impose that rate unilaterally, but the Spanish included it in the general state budgets for 2021 and it came into effect on January 16.
The government hopes to collect €968 million a year with it, although Brussels considers this number too optimistic.