Friday, 12 December 2014

Madness, brought to you by the EU. Please help stop it.

Just in case you have not heard about it yet (and I suppose a lot of you haven't): There will be a new regulation regarding taxes when selling digital services within the EU. Before January 1 2015, whatever you sold was taxed according to the rules your business is based in. After January 1, tax will have to be calculated according to the buyer's country rules, and you will have to pay your tax to them.

The intention behind this new rule? Prevent the big players from sitting somewhere in a low-tax country and shipping out oodles of stuff to everywhere else, making a bigger profit because of the lower tax rates. Which is all very nice - but this rule is, madly, going to apply to everybody. It is supposed to "level the playing field".

Can you imagine what that means for small businesses? Right. It means a lot of hassle, plus a lot of additional time investment, plus paperwork, plus costs. Or breaking the law. "Levelling the playing field", in their case, will mean taking them off the playing field entirely.

I learned about that rule change about two months ago, and I was really, really glad that I had opted for physical copies of the Pirate Robert hat to sell. This morning, though, I filled out a survey about the impact of the new rule, and I learned that the EU plans to include physical goods into this madness from 2016 on. WHAT?

This, Friends, Romans and Countrymen, will truly mean the end of many small businesses. Doing the paperwork for taxes is bad enough when you are handling your own country plus the exceptions that come with the "normal" rules. If I have to register for taxes in every country I ship to? And handle that accounting as well? That might kill my business. Together with many, many other small businesses.

The Internet has made it possible to get things from about everywhere, and the new regulations will cut that back to getting things from the big players only. Please help protest against the new regulations, in hopes that we can get better rules for us small players. There is a EU-wide petition for this - please sign, and pass on the information.

If you are a small-business owner yourself, or know one, here is the survey about the impact. Every survey helps. Every vote in the petition helps. Belief in miracles probably won't hurt either.

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