I’m working on a project to enable a UK-based author do direct worldwide ebook sales of their own works. Selling ebooks in Europe is an important part of that worldwide market.

And, given that this is a UK-based project, we need to comply with the relevant VAT rules.

If the customer is in the EU, we add the VAT. If they’re not, we don’t. If we add the VAT, it’s the UK rate of 20% and we pay it to the UK HMRC.

Relatively straightforward and easy to implement.

So obviously, we can’t have that!

So the EU is introducing a change to the VAT rules on 1st Jan 2015 so that the VAT will need be based on the place of the buyer, not the seller. So. add 20% if in the UK, add 3% if in Luxembourg, etc…

And at the end of the VAT quarter, do we pay those amounts separately to each countries’ equivalent of our HMRC? Or pay it just to the UK HMRC? Who knows? Apparently, full guidance on this hasn’t been issued yet. Which makes it rather hard to implement…

What madness is this! Wasn’t the point of the EU to make it easier to do business with each other? not more complicated?

In which case, why have they decided to make it so much easier for a non-EU company to sell into the EU market; than for someone to do it from within?