BRUSSELS, Belgium – The European Commission decided Thursday to send a Reasoned Opinion to Germany regarding restrictions on imports of coffee. Under the German Coffee Tax Law, (in German: Kaffeesteuergesetz) retailers established in another Member State selling coffee to Germany must appoint a fiscal representative located in Germany.
The representative needs to be approved by the German customs authority, record the mail order deliveries and pay the tax guarantee and due tax.
The Commission considers that this requirement prevents retailers from other Member States to freely import coffee into Germany and adds additional burdens that make it more difficult in particular for small or medium-sized companies to enter the German market and sell coffee at a distance.
The Commission considers that these requirements are contrary to EU rules on free movement of goods under Article 34 TFEU and the freedom to provide services underArticle 56 TFEU.
Germany now has three months to respond to the arguments raised by the Commission; otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer it to the Court of Justice.