Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Hard Times and Tough Choices

2/11/15 UPDATE on the post below: I am happy to announce that Etsy has stepped up to the plate and will be handling the collecting and remittance of the VAT tax. While they, (Etsy) are still working out the final details of which I will be paying close attention to, they have given the ok to resume sales, so I am once again able to sell my PDF patterns to everyone. My apologies to anyone who was inconvenienced, and many thanks for your patience and understanding!

Hello Everyone. Over the last 24 hours I have been working hard  to catch up on the European Union VAT Tax laws, and how they will effect my sales of PDF patterns and how and where I sell them. If you are unaware of what all this VAT tax is, you are not alone... I was completely caught off guard until yesterday... very late to the party was I. Thankfully I started  to see posts and links on Instagram about this, including a well written one from Esch House Quilts. (You can read her well articulated post for a better idea of what I am talking about.) It's a confusing, but serious topic that is impacting the livelihoods of many independent sellers who sell electronic/digital files, such as myself. If you wish to delve into some of the discussions you can visit a bit of the raging debate on the Etsy blog, here.

As of now, here is where I find myself...

Due to changes concerning the European Union VAT Tax laws and how they apply to PDF patterns sold to European Union customers, and due to the limited options currently provided through Etsy and Paypal including ability to control what, who and where I can sell to, I am at this time regrettably being put into the position of only selling to US customers. It is with a sad heart that I do this, and I wish to thank my very wonderful international customers for all of their past support. Please know that I will be keeping an eye on these new laws and any new developing solutions that will work for both myself and my international customers, including the possibility of no longer selling PDF patterns on Etsy and only selling them on platforms, such as Payhip, that will handle the collection and the payment of all VAT taxes. (Something Etsy should be doing but at this time isn't.)

Keep in mind, some of the "solutions" at this time, may be but a mere bandaid, as there is talk of more countries following a similar path, as well of word that come 2016, the EU will expand this law to ALL items sold to residents of the EU. So, if small independent sellers and businesses are to survive, the platforms that are supposedly in place to support independent seller's efforts, need to step up to the plate and deal with these issues in a responsible and legitimate way, or we will all be going out of business, including you Etsy.

While these new laws take effect January 1st 2015, I will be completing all necessary changes to my shop sometime tomorrow. Again, my deepest apologies to my international customers. Hoping effective and workable solutions come soon.

My very best wishes to you and all of us for a happy, health, peaceful and prosperous New Year. xo


The Inside Stori said...

There is probably a more dignified way to say this.....but frankly....that sucks!!! You are to be commended for the way you responded.....I think I'd be screaming my head off!

Deborah OHare said...

This saddens me Victoria. I totally understand your decision but feel it is those of us in the UK who will be hardest hit by US sellers blocking EU sales. There is a very active team here in the UK who will hopefully get the blinkered men in suits to introduce a threshold so that things can get back to normal.

foxyloon said...

Hi Victoria, does this mean no shipping to Canada as well?

kimberj said...

Hi Victoria! As a US quilter I feel incredibly fortunate. However my heart goes out to both vendors and customers who have been cheated by this. I can sympathize because my husband is working on the VAT project for Eaton Corp. He is losing his mind trying to keep up with all the regulations :(

Victoria said...

Foxyloon, so sorry for he late reply! Yes, unfortunately, as of now, I will have to limit all of my sales to only US customers. I am hoping soon that both Etsy and Paypal will enable sellers like myself to have better control over who they can accept payments from and ship to. Once that happens, (or the vat rules change) I will once again be able to expand my sales outside of the US.

I am also considering other selling venues, but for now this is unfortunately what I must do.


I agree with all of you, a sad, and frustrating situation, and one that I especially feel bad for all the good folks living in the UK and other EU countries.

Stephie said...

One temporary way forward Victoria, that I plan on using in the future, is to offer to send a postal copy of the pattern to customers in the EU, which will not be covered by the new laws (yet), and something I've seen others offering is to sell their patterns via Etsy but not for *immediate* download. Quite frankly the whole thing is ridiculous - and who do we have to thank for this, the likes of Amazon that have set up shop in Luxembourg where there's only 2.5% tax… and what does this new law do - force independent sellers to use platforms like Amazon, that charge an arm and a leg. Utterly incomprehensible, but then that's the EU for you!!!

Victoria said...

Steph, yes, I read about others using these solutions. The down side for me is, some of my PDF patterns are 20 pages long.... super for an "immediate downloadable" PDF, not so super for me to print out and send through the post!

Also, some of these larger patterns are too large for me to list as physical, (as opposed to "immediate downloadable") and send personally send via email, (which is what those Etsy sellers would be doing going that route). My internet in rural Podunkville isn't quite up to that capacity. Also, I have read that the UK won't charge VAT on files emailed, (must be the actual file not a link as they will still expect to collect Vat for a link) but some of the other EU countries say that they will charge VAT on emailed files.

It is indeed a mess!