Etsy & the EU VAT mess – update 4.2.2015

4.2.2015: Nearly a week ago Etsy updated their announcement, taking full responsibility for all things VAT:

Because the government views Etsy as the party responsible for collecting and remitting the VAT, to the best of our knowledge, individual sellers will not be penalized for non-compliance for digital items sold on Etsy.

This is the announcement + update:

The VAT will be added to the price, the amount depending on the buyer’s location. It is still unclear what changes will occur, how exactly they will be implemented, and how much control and preferences the sellers will have.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s the first post in this EU MESS series.
And a follow-up post where I look into alternative platforms to sell on.

In the past weeks, I have been exploring other platforms for selling online. I’ve looked at quite a few options, all having their pro’s and con’s. Many times I found myself thinking Etsy is really the better option – if only they would handle the VAT, if only they would be more caring, attentive, responsive to their loyal seller community.

Following the initial announcement on 20.1. many questions have been raised, about how the VAT will be implemented, and on whom, what control will the sellers have, etc. Sarah Cryer summed up the questions in her comment on the post:

“…How will the pricing work, how will your fees work, what will happen for domestic sales, can we opt out if wer’re handling VAT returns ourselves (and will you provide the required data), what will this look like during checkout and on our and the customers paperwork/screens , does the impact t&cs (Terms & Conditions -tulla), when will you actually notify sellers, and finally when does this go live?”
I will add to her list – some sellers are interested in a way for opting out of selling  to the European Union.

I must admit after a very confusing, frustrating month of uncertainty, I am tired, and have put all my searches on hold. I have re-listed all my digital items and allowed myself to be lulled into back-to-normal mode.

I’m afraid I’m still uneasy with Etsy’s tendency to keep their cards close to their chest, to remain inaccessible and mostly silent. This is passable when things are alright, but I’m not hopeful as to timely responses and information-sharing when the need will arise again. And I’m pretty sure it will, at some point.

I am stopping these updates for the time being. Thank you for bearing with me.

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