A law brought in at the start of the year obliges online platforms registered in the European Union to pass on all the data of sellers who transact on them to the local tax office.

The Platform Tax Transparency Act (PStTG), which came into force on Jan. 1, requires platform operators to collect information about sellers — both companies and individuals — using the platform and the sales generated from this, and hand over details to the relevant authority.

The legislation makes modest exemptions for users whose transactions are infrequent or of modest value, with traders falling under the scope of the law once they use the platform 30 times a year or earn €2,000 from transacting on the site.

The law applies to digital platforms that allow users to contact each other and carry out transactions for remuneration via the site, so would not affect traditional classified websites that solely host adverts or listings.

According to an article published by audit firm EY, companies operating marketplaces will have to collect and report such information as sellers’ name, address, tax identification number and, in some cases, owner and financial account identifier.

They will have to notify the tax authorities of the sales and activities of each seller for each calendar quarter, with any fees, commissions or taxes withheld or charged by the platform operator to be stated separately.

Operators must also regularly check the information collected for accuracy and plausibility, and follow up with the user if they identify potential irregularities. Where sellers do not provide their data on time, the platform operator must block or close their user account and take steps to prevent them from re-registering.

Companies are due to submit the first report on Jan. 31, 2024, covering transactions conducting throughout the preceding year.

All platform operators who have their registered office or one permanent establishment in Germany (the law passed through the German legislature) or another EU state.

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