The long and short of it is this: as of 1/1/15, all businesses anywhere in the world who sell a downloadable good (music, e-book, and yes, craft patterns) to an EU customer will have to pay VAT (Value Added Tax, or as I like to call it Violently Acrimonious Tax) to the country in which the customer lives. If you start doing a little research and familiarize yourself with the complete mess this entire thing is, as I have been doing all week, you will soon be hitting the egg nog and your Christmas spirit will be in the toilet. Trust me.
I drafted and sent this letter to several key parties in the EU today. It explains a little more about why I unfortunately will be shutting my Craftsy store paid patterns down, effective 1/1/15.
I am a quilt designer based in Massachusetts, USA, and I find myself this week wishing to go back 250 years to drink a tankard at the Green Lantern with Paul Revere and Sam Adams. Forgive my drama, but it is hard not to feel like this is taxation without representation and I’m all Don’t Tread on Me-ing over here across the pond.
Having just been apprised of this VAT tax this week, as it is getting no press over here at all, and having to do my own mind-boggling, tedious, and contradictory research, and having to scramble to figure out how to adjust my business to either accommodate receipt and payment of VAT or risk massive penalties for my average of two sales a year of a $9 quilt pattern to an EU quilter has quite ruined my Christmas spirit.
The digital download portion of my business, which I accomplish entirely through the Craftsy website, is not the main moneymaker for me, but it is significant enough that I do not wish to lose it. Have you heard the adage “When you buy from a small mom-and-pop business, you are not helping a CEO buy a third vacation home.
You are helping a little girl get dance lessons, a little boy get his team jersey, a mom or dad put food on the table, a family pay a mortgage, or a student pay for college”? That’s my family exactly. We own one home. We have three children, one of whom gets her dance lessons in part through the online downloads sales portion of my business. If I have a really good month on Craftsy, maybe I take everyone out to dinner too. It’s high living at its best.
In three years of having my patterns on Craftsy, I’ve sold six patterns to the EU. Six. Total sales in three years were hundreds of times higher than that, and were 98% USA customers, with my next two big markets being Australia/New Zealand and Canada. Unfortunately, because I cannot control who is buying from me as Craftsy is the middleman, I now must shut down my loyal 98% of my online download customers and 100% of my sales due to .006 of my overall sales history and the possibility of another .006 this year. USA customers are my lifeline in ALL aspects of my business, and shutting this side down will likely have adverse effects elsewhere, including marketing, production, and overall business visibility.
While I do feel all treaded on, payment of the VAT for me would not be a problem if Craftsy were being at all helpful, but they currently are not. There is no way for me to actually collect VAT on a Craftsy sale, so the tax payments would have to come out of my own pocket. I do not have the resources, as a micro-business, to set up or properly keep up with the records you’d like us to keep for ten years as to any EU sales, and “two non-conflicting pieces of data” to show where these sales came from – I can’t even wrap my head around how I would go about that. To say nothing of the cost of registering for VATMOSS, etc. There is no way I can block EU buyers even if I wanted to. Craftsy could do these things as the third party. They do not appear to be willing to do so at this time, although I keep hoping they will see the light. Therefore I see no choice but to close down my shop as of 1/1/15 until such time as the law is changed to set a reasonable threshold for micro-businesses. One sale of any amount is not remotely a reasonable threshold.
I thank you for your time, and I hope that my story is one of only thousands who are begging you to set a reasonable threshold that will allow microbusinesses to function, prosper, and continue to help grow the world economy.
Please help keep my kid in tutus.
EvaPaige Quilt Designs
Quilting Hottie Haven blog – www.evapaigequiltdesigns.blogspot.comwww.facebook.com/EvaPaigeQuiltDesigns
So yeah. That's the plan. No more downloads from me after 12/31, until and if Craftsy gets a clue and collects and files VAT when necessary for micro-businesses like me.
I didn't want to just shut down that side of things without warning, so consider yourselves warned. If you like download patterns and have been thinking of buying one, from me or from other designers, you might want to do it now and call it a gift to yourself. While paper patterns are always available and can be purchased via the Pattern Store page of this blog, several of my patterns are download only, including the popular Motley Spool mug rug, and will cease availability on 12/31. I cannot speak for all designers, but I do know many who are in the same boat and have made the same decision. My Craftsy store can be accessed via the link on the left sidebar, or CLICK HERE.
If anything changes, I'll certainly let you all know. I appreciate your business always and hope that I can reinstate the downloads or find another place to host them, but cannot guarantee anything at this time.