As the dust from the Irish Revenue Fiasco settles, we can now see what Europe’s smallest businesses think of their chances of selling digital products online, six months after the new EU regulations were introduced. Alongside the opinions of the up-and-coming digital entrepreneurs and other companies keen to expand into international online trade, to drive the knowledge economy and generate employment and growth.
From 7th-9th September, the Fiscalis Summit in Dublin will see representatives of every EU Finance Ministry discussing how well or badly implementing these new rules has gone.
So we have until that conference to convince the Finance Ministries that this current system is damaging for all businesses and unworkable for those who simply cannot meet the administrative burdens and costs of compliance necessary to sign up for VATMOSS.
Otherwise there is no realistic prospect of seeing meaningful changes to this destructive legislation before 2017/2018.
We need everyone to act, most particularly those outside the UK, to prove this isn’t just a UK concern, which is something far too many other European finance ministries still believe. They’re still only talking to business organisations and the largest companies who can handle all this far more easily than the rest of us.
They need to hear the specific details of the ways this legislation has hurt your business and the changes you’ve had to make in order to just keep trading. However well the VATMOSS payment processing system itself might work is irrelevant if the administrative burdens and costs of compliance are so damaging.
European finance ministries and the tax officials handling all this need to hear from the sole traders, the one-person companies, the part-time start-ups and side-businesses who have been hardest hit by all this, precisely because the Internet now offers so many opportunities for small-scale, direct e-commerce.
Some of those start-ups could have become the next Apple, Amazon or Google. But as long as these new regulations raise such an off-putting barrier to entry into the digital single market, those giants will continue to dominate.
Last but by no means least, we’ve also navigated PayPal’s rules and regulations to set up a Donate button, for those of you who’d prefer that route for making a contribution to the campaign. All money received will only go on direct expenses. We all continue to donate our time for free – yes, even after ten months of this…