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VATMOSS, VATMESS

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This is expanded from the editorial note in Ansible 329, which sprouted a long list of links.

The EU VAT nightmare that began in 2015 was brought to the attention of many small presses and one-person publishers in sf/fantasy/horror circles by Juliet McKenna and Cheryl Morgan, who researched the disastrous implications of the European VAT rules changes as implemented in the UK under the name "VATMOSS". These, based on a very incomplete (and years out of date) survey of online dealing, are meant to address the country-hopping trading practices of Amazon et al but are fraught with unintended consequences. As of 1 January 2015, countless small businesses selling digital products – including individual authors with their own ebooks – must jump through tricky bureaucratic hoops. These include applying VAT on sales to each EU country at that country's appropriate local rate and recording two non-contradictory confirmations of each buyer's geographical address: PayPal, as an example of a popular payment route, provides at most one (unless you can work with the PayPal API, and the resulting datum is not really independent of the PayPal "verified address"; also, what about bona-fide customers who happen not to have a verified PayPal address?). There are also troubling data-protection issues. Those who took comfort from the fact that the normal UK turnover threshold for compulsory VAT registration is £81,000 soon had a rude awakening: the threshold for this VAT scheme is zero. Some small ebook publishers have already shut down in despair. Advice supplied to date by HM Revenue & Customs ranges from the unhelpful to the contradictory, although meetings with actual UK and EU politicians have led to a little progress in the sense of "gosh, we realize something should be done about this but of course it will take years and years". Read the links below, and weep.

Late update, December 2016: some good news at last, but no change until 2018.

EUvataction.org

All posts at http://euvataction.org/ are relevant to the VATMOSS issue and campaign.

17 December 2014 – http://euvataction.org/2014/12/17/twitter-euvat-action-a-storming-success/
18 December 2014 – http://euvataction.org/2014/12/18/its-not-all-ears-its-action-too-in-the-european-commission-on-eu-vat/ – lobby your MEP!
20 December 2014 – http://euvataction.org/2014/12/20/update-how-not-to-let-eu-vat-ruin-your-christmas-or-your-business/
29 December 2014 – http://euvataction.org/2014/12/29/hot-off-the-press-concession-from-uk-hmrc-will-enable-more-firms-to-keep-trading/ – slightly better news at last.
18 February 2015 – http://euvataction.org/2015/02/18/the-new-eu-digital-vat-rules-whats-the-real-cost-of-compliance/
3 March 2015 – http://euvataction.org/2015/03/03/eu-digital-vat-thresholds-and-what-were-not-asking-for/
4 May 2015 – http://euvataction.org/2015/05/04/why-we-need-action-on-the-vatmoss-fiasco-as-soon-as-possible/
20 September 2015 – http://euvataction.org/2015/09/16/the-vatmoss-threshold-paradox-reasons-why-countries-are-wary-why-we-need-action-now/

Juliet McKenna

25 November 2014 – http://www.julietemckenna.com/?p=1502
28 November 2014 – http://www.julietemckenna.com/?p=1509
29 November 2014 – http://www.julietemckenna.com/?p=1516 – links roundup.
1 December 2014 – http://www.julietemckenna.com/?p=1524
7 December 2014 – http://www.julietemckenna.com/?p=1528
8 December 2014 – http://www.julietemckenna.com/?p=1532
16 January 2015 – http://www.julietemckenna.com/?p=1555
20 February 2015 – http://www.julietemckenna.com/?p=1569
27 March 2015 – http://www.julietemckenna.com/?p=1585
1 April 2015 – http://news.ansible.uk/a333.html#33 (in Ansible)
18 May 2015 – http://www.julietemckenna.com/?p=1626
19 May 2015 – http://www.julietemckenna.com/?p=1635
13 August 2015 – "The EUVAT VATMOSS Campaign. Fundraising to attend a VITAL meeting"
17 August 2015 – http://www.julietemckenna.com/?p=1676
11 September 2015 – http://www.julietemckenna.com/?p=1696

Cheryl Morgan

24 November 2014 – http://www.cheryl-morgan.com/?p=20082
28 November 2014 – http://www.cheryl-morgan.com/?p=20100
30 November 2014 – http://www.cheryl-morgan.com/?p=20108
2 December 2014 – http://www.cheryl-morgan.com/?p=20118
3 December 2014 – http://www.cheryl-morgan.com/?p=20123
5 December 2014 – http://www.cheryl-morgan.com/?p=20133
8 December 2014 – http://www.cheryl-morgan.com/?p=20148
13 December 2014 – http://www.cheryl-morgan.com/?p=20169
18 December 2014 – http://www.cheryl-morgan.com/?p=20187
24 December 2014 – http://www.cheryl-morgan.com/?p=20224
31 December 2014 – http://www.cheryl-morgan.com/?p=20253
2 January 2015 – http://www.cheryl-morgan.com/?p=20273
9 February 2015 – http://www.cheryl-morgan.com/?p=20438
22 February 2015 – http://www.cheryl-morgan.com/?p=20504
21 May 2015 – http://www.cheryl-morgan.com/?p=20950
13 August 2015 – http://www.cheryl-morgan.com/?p=21334

Wendy Bradley

27 November 2014 – http://tiintax.com/2014/11/27/twitterstorm-a-modest-proposal/
4 February 2015 – http://tiintax.com/2015/02/04/small-firms-impact-not-waving-but-drowning-part-i-of-4/
5 February 2015 – http://tiintax.com/2015/02/05/small-firms-impact-not-waving-but-drowning-part-2-of-4/
18 February 2015 – http://tiintax.com/2015/02/18/small-firms-impact-not-waving-but-drowning-part-3-of-4/
13 August 2015 – http://tiintax.com/2015/08/13/democracy-and-money/

Other

http://digitalmicrobusinessactiongroup.wordpress.com/ – all posts are relevant.
http://www.businesszone.co.uk/category/tags/vat-moss – ongoing coverage at businessZONE.
https://idea15.wordpress.com/category/vatmoss-euvat/ – relevant tagged posts at WebDevLaw

13 October 2014 – http://rachelandrew.co.uk/archives/2014/10/13/the-horrible-implications-of-the-eu-vat-place-of-supply-change/
18 November 2014 – http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/soozi-baggs/new-eu-vat-regs-seriously_1_b_6177222.html
25 November 2014 – http://rachelandrew.co.uk/archives/2014/11/25/how-small-companies-and-freelancers-can-deal-with-the-vatmoss-eu-vat-changes/
4 December 2014 – http://davewalker.cc/vatmoss-cartoon/ – the at-a-glance summary.
4 December 2014 – https://www.enterprisenation.com/blog/posts/when-vatmoss-met-hmrc
6 December 2014 – http://www.clarejosa.com/articles/from-passion-to-purpose/updates-from-our-meeting-with-hmrc-hm-treasury-and-a-minster-on-4th-december-2014/
8 December 2014 – http://www.change.org/p/vince-cable-mp-uphold-the-vat-exemption-threshold-for-businesses-supplying-digital-products/responses/25596 – Change.org petition: useless response from useless politician.
8 December 2014 – http://pennygrubb.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/government-minister-advocates-law.html – and a response to the above.
17 December 2014 – http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/12/17/eu_vat_law_could_kill_off_thousands_of_online_businesses/
18 December 2014 – http://www.happybootstrapper.com/2014/im-us-whatll-happen-just-ignore-eu-vat-changes/
22 December 2014 – http://www.businesszone.co.uk/topic/finances/vat-moss-how-paypal-etsy-and-others-are-preparing/58804
1 January 2015 – http://www.businesszone.co.uk/topic/business-trends/small-businesses-close-new-eu-vat-rules-come-force/58913
1 January 2015 – http://mollymep.org.uk/2015/01/01/mep-calls-for-europe-wide-vat-exemption-for-micro-businesses-in-wake-of-new-tax-rules/
6 January 2015 – http://www.digitalartsonline.co.uk/news/creative-business/vat-moss-facts-updated-january-6-2015/
13 January 2015 – http://www.prowess.org.uk/euvat-vatmoss-news-resources
14 January 2015; expanded 2 February 2015 – http://news.ansible.uk/pdf/peekmoss.pdf – Bernie Peek quizzes his MP (hosted here with permission).
14 January 2015 – https://www.lfs.net/vatmoss/ – what registering for MOSS is actually like.
April 2015 – http://ansible.uk/sfx/sfx258.html – Langford summary in SFX magazine column.
1 April 2015 – http://news.ansible.uk/a333.html#33Ansible 333 on the cancellation of a planned charity ebook because of all this.
4 April 2015 – http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/smallbusiness/article-3025623/Thousands-firms-stymied-new-digital-VAT-rules-aimed-stopping-multi-nationals-undercutting-rivals.html
16 July 2015 – https://idea15.wordpress.com/2015/07/16/everything-wrong-with-vatmoss-in-one-image/
25 August 2015 – EU's new VAT rules forcing thousands out of business
December 2016 – some good news at last, with threshold proposed (though not until 2018): http://www.clarejosa.com/articles/pierre-moscovici-announces-proposed-threshold-simplifications-eu-vat/

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