Hi All,

I am going to try to make this as short as possible. Please do ask me questions and I will do my best to answer them.

On Jan. 1, 2015 a new EU VAT law will kick into effect that requires all sellers of digital products (worldwide) to collect VAT (European Tax) to be paid to the buyers home country.

There are 28 EU countries, and 75 different VAT rates. There is a ZERO minimum threshold. That means every single penny we sell digitally to an EU customer must  be charged VAT and VAT must be filed quarterly, no matter how small the earnings. The fine for breaking the law is unlimited.
Note: There are some minor deviations from what I’ve laid out here, but this is the core of the law.

In addition, the seller (theStudio) must obtain two non-conflicting pieces of data verifying the buyers country of residence. This data must be retained for 10 years.

Why am I just now sharing this with you?  I only learned of this myself 3-4 weeks ago.  Many in the digital industries only learned of this in late November.  This law was designed to stop big companies (ie Amazon, Starbucks, Ebay, etc.) from selling their downloads through low-VAT countries Luxembourg (3% tax rate… now increasing to 15%, this will still obviously hurt Luxembourg’s financial income), thereby increasing other countries VAT income.  What appears not well thought out is how this will hurt small business and micro businesses in the digital arena.
Note: Also, I can’t help but think what will happen to, for example, Hungary’s VAT office when all those €1 VAT forms start flooding their desks every quarter.

Obviously I do not agree with this law.  That does not put me above the law. I must comply.  I worked countless hours, as did my team, to make this happen before January 1.  It is not possible to become VAT compliant before then:

  • Digital Scrapbooking Studio is not registered to collect VAT
  • Digital Scrapbooking Studio is not registered with a Mini One Stop Shop (MOSS); This will assist us with filing the quarterly returns to each EU-nation I collection VAT from
  • We are not currently charging VAT
  • We are not currently retaining identifying data, let alone for 10 years
  • In addition, EU-residents are accustomed to seeing the VAT price included in the cost of the product.

I have chosen to temporarily block all purchases by EU residents.  I have done this with two steps:

  • I have removed the “Add to Cart” button from all customers with an EU IP
  • This message displays at the top of every product page:
    Note: We are sorry, but at the moment this site does not deliver digital downloads to your region. Please be patient as we work hard to become EU VAT 2015 compliant. This is a complex process and we are working diligently to make our site available to our EU Customers. You are very important to us. Our sincere apologies for the delay.
    EU VAT 2015 notice

What is next?

We are taking steps to fill out the necessary paperwork to become EU VAT compliant.  We will then revamp our store interface to integrate VAT requirements directly into our pricing.  Our current estimate is that this will be completed by the end of the first quarter in 2015.

Until then, theStudio will need to block our EU customers.  We are truly sorry for the inconvenience and the trouble this is causing you.

Please note that we did not take the blocking of our EU customers lightly.  However, if we continue without being EU VAT compliant we risk unlimited fines and losing our store altogether.

What is important is that we are not giving up on our EU customers. We are fighting to keep you and work with this new law. It will be done legally and above the law every step of the way.

What now?

We hope you continue to read our Studio Newsletters.  Our NL are a great way to keep up with us and our designs, and the freebies in the NL are still available to our EU customers.  Likewise our blog, Facebook and Google+ freebies continue to be available and downloadable to our EU customers.

You can subscribe to our NL and click “within EU” to receive special EU-only newsletter updates: Subscribe HERE!

You can download these free cardstocks as part of our Thank You for being our customer and supporting us during our transition.


Big smooches,

theStudio Owner