#VATMESS 2015 – Share your story

Over in the Digital VAT 2015 group on Facebook there is a discussion where they are asking people to share if they have closed their business because of VATMESS. If that is you, regardless of your country, do go over and fill in the quick ‘questionnaire’ (you will need to be signed in to FB to see it). It will help show decision makers how this is affecting people. So the more people who respond, the more obvious it will be that this is really, really bad.

In addition to that, I was thinking it’d be good to have those stories, out in the world for anyone to read them. So I suggest that we simply share how VATMESS is affecting us by blogging about it.

What has the immediate effect been for you since the new VAT legislation came into effect on January 1? Business-wise? Financially? Emotionally? For your family? What will the medium and long term effects be?

The immediate effect for me, as you know, is that I have closed my shop for all of January. This is so I could figure out a solution that will keep me in business with as little extra cost and added admin as possible. I didn’t want to risk selling to EU customers before I had a way to deal with it and not break the law. This means that I basically have no income in January. Which is obviously something I worry about.

And I have spent a ridiculous amount of time trawling the interwebs, researching options. There are a few out there, but not all of them suit my business. January has not turned out the way I imagined it before VATMESS came crashing down and caught many of us by surprise. I was supposed to be brainstorming new ideas to take my business forward. Instead I am working to keep it alive. Well, that may be slightly dramatic, but that is how it feels.

I have heard many people say something like this: “In 2015 I was going to start selling my [enter craft] patterns, but because of the new VAT law I won’t bother.” That makes me so sad.

In the medium term I have to find a solution that will let me comply with the new law. Even if it’s not perfect. It will mean extra work for me (manually emailing patterns to Etsy customers). The shopping experience in my own shop will probably be a bit clunkier, unfortunately. And EU customers will have to pay VAT on most of the things I sell. So prices will go up for them. There is nothing I can do about that.

I am unable to absorb the cost of the VAT, so I can’t knock down my prices to make up for the VAT difference. Especially since there are many different rates across the EU. However, I am converting my shop currency from USD to UK pounds. Wherever possible, I am rounding prices down, so there should be a small price drop. Of course, it depends on the going exchange rate between GBP and a customer’s currency.

Using GBP is also better from an accounting point of view because it gives me fixed prices for my goods and not prices that fluctuate with exchange rates.

In the long term I don’t know what will happen. I guess I will keep tweaking things to make them work as well as possible for both my customers and I.

I imagine there are a lot of people who are in this situation. I’d love to hear your/their stories. How are you dealing with this? How is it affecting you? Do you think about it all the time? (I do.) Maybe you even dream about it because it’s consuming your thoughts so much? (Me again.) Drive your partner/parents/friends/kids crazy by talking about it? (Also me. Sorry, Tony.)

Please blog about your story and share a link to it here. It doesn’t matter which country you are in. If this affects you, tell the world. If you have already written about it, you can share that link. I think it’s good to put some actual people behind whatever statistics that may be floating around.


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