At the 11th hour before I head out of the UK for almost a month of conference engagements I shipped the first course in my CSS Layout Workshop. Not only is this a brand new product it is being sold on another product we have in beta - our new Perch Shop.
I'm really excited about how well Shop works for creating a platform for selling and delivering content like this, we've spent a whole lot of time working on the ability for Shop to cope with even the most complex of tax rules too. So it should help anyone else who needs to deal with VATMOSS for this type of content.
On that note ... as you can see the email this week has turned into a bit of a VAT rant, it's been a while! However the situation still frustrates me, and it is sad to see good companies give up on the UK and leave due to this stuff.
Of interest to me this week was the news that Ghost are moving their business out of the EU due to VAT MOSS. Co-founder John O’Nolan was interviewed for an Accounting Web article where he goes into more detail.
“When VAT MOSS came in we had to rewrite our entire billing system at least twice to try and collect all the location information required”
This was exactly where we were with Perch, the fact I was already aware of the change of place of supply rules, and we were doing reverse charge EU VAT already made it a bit easier. However it essentially burned up our development time in December 2014. O’Nolan goes on to say,
“We were also looking into having a two-sided marketplace – people buying and selling Ghost products on our site. At that point you have VAT MOSS squared, because you have the seller’s location and VAT registration status, you have us in the middle and then the buyer’s location and VAT registration status.”
Again, this runs parallel with our experience. At the time we became aware of the full implications of the legislation we had an almost ready to ship marketplace for Perch Addons. It still hasn’t launched, partly because our time was burned up getting ourselves ready for VAT MOSS and partly because we would need to make sure that we coped with the situation for anyone selling through our system.
“It’s slowed down our roadmap, allowed some of our competitors to get ahead and caused untold amounts of stress.”
Now, those of you who have lived VATMOSS with me for the last 18 months would be right in saying that Ghost should still be charging VAT to EU countries. Yes they should. However so should our competitors in the USA. They are not. Who is going to enforce this in countries where EU Member States have no jurisdiction? So those of us operating in the EU are hammered with increasingly complex and vague legislation, while our competitors simply shrug and continue selling globally with no thoughts about VAT at all.
Levelling the playing field was what we were told this legislation was about. Seems a pretty mountainous field from where I am sat.