With so little time before the European Parliament shuts for Christmas, the VAT Action Group urged its supporters to take to Twitter this morning in an urgent bid to show both EU commissioners and the UK government that we are not going to stand for the changes that will cripple many small businesses across Europe.
British comic creators such as Marc Ellerby, Kate Ashwin and Jennie Gyllblad – all digital comic proponents – were among the many who are concerned by the new legislation which has already forced many to close because they feel they will not be able to cope with the onerous bureaucracy, data protection demands and costs the new rules mean.
The new VAT legislation is intended to force big companies to pay more tax in the EU countries where they make a sale – but as we previously reported, if the legislation as currently outlined is allowed to come into force on 1st January 2015, the changes will create a #VATMESS – unfairly disadvantaging the EU’s smallest businesses.
In the UK, the changes mean even the smallest ebusiness selling goods in other countries will have to register for VAT even if they never earn more than the high threshold; will have to pay an annual fee to register under the Data Protection Act and keep records of sales for 10 years; and ensure buyers provide proof of purchase address to fulfil VAT requirements.
The VAT Action Group, which is urging concerned businesses to sign this EU-wide petition asking for a halt to the changes, called for an #EUVAT Twitterstorm to spread the word as much as possible, especially outside of the UK, targeting the EU Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs Pierre Moscovici, Günther Oettinger, the EU Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society and Andrus Ansip, the European Commission Vice-President for the #DigitalSingleMarket (who has responded to some of the concerns raised on his own blog, but with opening comment that reads like the response of the Vogons to complaints from humans about them destroying the Earth in The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy).
Sadly, to date, only UKIP have replied to the concerns I have raised about this in letters to both MEPs and my own MP David Morris (the supposed ‘Freelancer Tsar’, but who has made no comment whatsoever on the matter). No MEP from the major parties in the UK has bothered to respond so far.
Many British comic creators outlined their concerns about the new rules in their own tweets this morning. Here are just some of them, and some other pertinent protests:
— Kate Ashwin (@KateDrawsComics) December 16, 2014
— Orful Comics (@OrfulComics) December 16, 2014
— Jennie Gyllblad (@JennieGyllblad) December 16, 2014
— Lucy Morris (@lucyamorris) December 16, 2014
— Paul Duffield (@paul_duffield) December 16, 2014
Today digital goods, tomorrow physical goods. If you sell stuff online, you will have to register for VAT or break the law #VATMESS
— GarySpencerMillidge (@millidge) December 16, 2014
— Josceline Fenton (@mildtarantula) December 16, 2014
— Amy Letts (@amuletts) December 16, 2014
— Alex Mathers (@MoonApe) December 16, 2014
#EUVAT/ #VATMESS Web Links
• Take Action: http://www.euvataction.org/take-action-now/
Need more information? Here are some useful links:
• Useful resources: http://euvataction.org/dont-miss-these/
• Here are some answers to FAQs: http://euvataction.org/key-facts
• And here’s where to find the campaign on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/euvataction
Want to take action?
• Please write to your MP and MEPs to tell them about the problems this legislation will cause for you http://euvataction.org/take-action-now/write-to-your-mp-mep
Tell people about the VAT Action Group survey, which is gathering information from people affected: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/10GWseoeGY46uW1bXsRVyKODCnwDq6o0Ubx6uimqs7TE/viewform
Finally, if you would like to submit an official case study to the EU to explain how the new rules will negatively impact your business – and your life – please email your story to: http://euvataction.org/take-action-now/submit-a-case-study. Please copy it to your MEP, if you have one.