Compliance is a task that can never be completed, as new legislation is always on the horizon. Especially in international ecommerce, things are moving fast. Ecommerce is growing so rapidly that legislators can barely catch up. Thus, our compliance checklist 2021 is meant to provide you an insight into what to expect in terms of ecommerce compliance in the next couple of years.
Compliance checklist 2021 for ecommerce
These 5 sets of regulation will be important for compliance managers in ecommerce in the next year(s):
1. Plastic tax in EU and UK
Due to the Brexit, the UK is no longer bound by EU directives and legislation. Yet, both the EU and the UK have independently introduced a tax on plastics. Other than the EU plastic tax that was introduced in January 2021, the UK plastic tax does have a direct impact on the compliance of online stores. But first things first:
The EU plastic tax is a financial fee that EU member states need to pay to the EU for plastics that are not being recycled. Ecommerce businesses do not pay this tax directly, as it is a tax imposed on the states. However, costs for the packaging license in Germany and other member countries are likely going to rise, which will translate into higher operational costs for online stores.
The UK plastic tax on the other hand is a direct tax. Starting April 2022, it will be imposed on all businesses that place plastics on the UK market with less than 30% recycled content. That includes all online stores which sell to the UK. It is not yet clear, however, whether foreign businesses which are not registered in the UK will be impacted by the tax. We will keep you updated on your individual obligations with our compliance service:
By the way, there is a simple trick to avoid the plastic tax: Don’t use any plastics! For instance, our partner Packhelp provides individually designed ecommerce packaging from FSC-certified paper.
2. Ecommerce tax in Germany
The second bullet point on our compliance checklist 2021 is still a big question mark. The German conservative party has recently suggested to tax ecommerce sales. The tax revenue should then be used to support local stationary businesses and shops in Germany’s city centers. If and how such a tax will be implemented is still up to discussion. Since the suggestion was countered by large resistance from ecommerce associations like BVOH, Händlerbund and others, we frankly doubt that the German ecommerce tax will become reality. Nevertheless, we’d suggest you sign up for our newsletter to stay informed about future developments and compliance related topics.
3. Textile EPR in the EU
So far, only France has introduced EPR-legislation (“extended producer responsibility”) for textiles. This means that businesses that sell textiles or shoes in France must join a recycling scheme and pay fees for the recycling of their products. However, according to an EU directive, all member states must introduce separate collection of textile waste by 2025. Sweden has already announced to introduce an EPR law for clothing and textiles by January 2022. We expect that other member states will follow suit and introduce similar schemes as are currently in place for packaging or WEEE.
These textile EPR laws will highly impact fashion startups and online stores that sell clothing cross-border to customers in the EU. Besides packaging, they will need to pay recycling fees for their textile products as well. Of course, we will offer consultation for textile recycling obligations to our customers of our Europe-Service when the time comes.
4. New recycling symbol obligations in France
All recyclable packaging, products or product-manuals must be marked with a specific recycling symbol. From 2021, this rule applies to electronic devices, too. We have summarized all information in this blog article:
5. Reform of the EU packaging directive
The EU packaging waste directive will also see major reforms at the end of the new year. Due to the increasing importance of online commerce, we expect ecommerce to be included in the legislation more thoroughly. The EU will also try to reduce free-riders and increase market fairness. Since the reforms are yet to come, there are no details available yet, but it is clear that member states will need to adjust their packaging waste laws in the coming years. Even in 2021, some countries have already adjusted regulations and processes of packaging EPR, e.g. Czech Republic, France, and Portugal. We keep our customers with an active subscription updated on all relevant changes of packaging laws at all times. This way, you will always have your personal compliance checklist at hand:
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