Pioneering tax to regulate the use of public space by large postal operators

The big increase in parcel deliveries by large postal operators resulting from e-commerce has a negative impact on traffic congestion and pollution and means an imbalance in competition with local shops and businesses. Thanks to an agreement with the ERC, a pioneering tax is being launched to redress the situation by regulating the use of public space by these companies, which to date has been free.

02/12/2022 13:11 h

Ajuntament de Barcelona

A tax for large operators

The new regulation is aimed at big postal companies for e-commerce operating on a large scale in the city. Because of this, the proposal is for the regulation to apply only to companies with annual turnovers of more than a million euros obtained from deliveries to final destinations indicated by consumers in Barcelona. The amount to be paid by the group of operators as a whole may not exceed the set limit of 2.6 million euros.

The tax will also be applied where companies subcontract their activity to other companies or the self-employed, but the by-law establishes that the tax will be paid by the postal operator. In the case of groups of companies, the company with the highest annual turnover will be the one to pay.

The new tax is planned as a payment which contributors will manage and pay autonomously through telematic means between 1 and 30 July of the tax year following its application. Consequently, the amount for the 2023 tax year will be paid autonomously by contributors in July 2024.

Activities and companies exempt

The regulation establishes a series of activities which are exempt from paying the new tax:

  • Deliveries made by goods delivery services which do not operate on the market as postal operators. For instance, if an establishment in the city has a fleet of vehicles to make home deliveries of products purchased face-to-face or via their website.
  • Deliveries to shops and businesses in the city on a wholesale basis, to be resold by retailers (business to business). For instance, the delivery of drinks to a restaurant.
  • Deliveries made without using any sort of vehicle.
  • Deliveries from a collection point included in the register of these to be created by Barcelona City Council and updated annually.
  • Operators with an annual turnover below 1 million euros obtained through deliveries in Barcelona.

This is the first time in the Spanish state that a city has put forward a regulation aimed at large postal operators. The initiative will get under way in the Commission for Economy and Tax in December and if it makes its way through the administrative process successfully it will be voted on definitively by the Full Council in their meeting of February 2023.


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