Tag Archives: VAT MOSS

Shame on you Germany for treating Greece so badly

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iuI am furious and so disappointed – “Grexit” (Greece’s exit from the EU) has been discussed in every detail in the news the last few weeks – and I have to say that the whole EU project has been shown in a very bad light – Germany has more or less forced Greece to kneel before it to be humiliated.

Sorry, but, apparently, when Germany was on its knees after the Second World War, Greece was one of the countries that forgave their debt, with the knowledge that a broken country would be dangerous, for those that live there and for those it owed money to.

I will say what everyone else has been thinking but is too careful to say – there is something in the German character that is dangerous, it was no aberration that they allowed the dictatorship of Hitler and went along with his mad and horrific policies.  We all thought that period was over, but its just re-surfaced.

I wish Greece had been able to leave and reinstate the Drachma, but I understand the tangle of issues that has made them try to stay.  I hope we can all support them in some way or another, but I see trouble ahead.

If this isn’t a warning to every other country in the Eurozone, I don’t know what is – Greece no longer even have independent access to the printers that could produce a new currency!

The best comment I heard about all this was on Radio 4’s “Now Show” – to paraphrase it – how can you expect those countries that don’t need to wear a jumper in winter to behave in the same way as those countries that need to wear several jumpers all year round!

Greece is not Germany – and they shouldn’t be forced into German mind sets and German economic strategies – they won’t work in a Mediterranean country!

We are expecting to be allowed to vote in a referendum here in the UK – sometime or another – whether we want to stay in the EU.  I for one have had enough of the petty standardisation and killing of individuality with thousands of mini laws!

So I will be voting to get out of the EU as soon as we can!

beware - tilting at windmills is not allowed in the EU - smile

beware – tilting at windmills is not allowed in the EU – smile

If any of you read my post on VAT MOSS in January, you might be interested to know that I have been writing to various MEP’s about this VAT MESS, which affects small craft businesses NOT EVEN IN THE EU – you might be interested to know that the whole issue is mired in so much petty procedure that nothing has been done!  

I am waiting for a bit more information before I publish an updated post about it – don’t hold your breath!

And yes, I do sometimes fight impossible fights, and tilt at windmills!  Feel free to skip this post if you are not political!

PS:  I wrote this in the early hours, and when I woke this morning, I find that the IMF (International Monetary Fund) has poured scorn on the deal, saying rightly, but far too late, that they do not believe that anything but a write off of the majority of the Greek debt would work, as this deal would NEVER enable them to get back into credit.

This announcement has been made on the day that the Greek Prime Minister is supposed to persuade his government to vote through the changes that the Germans demand IMMEDIATELY !  AND – the German government and other EU governments are meeting to ratify the ‘so called’ agreement!

If you’d like to read something completely different – I have put some more pictures of Tilly’s Miraculous Kittens up on “the spare” – you can see the new pictures here – smile.

X is for Xtra, Xtra – read all about it!

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XThis is the newz according to Julz!

Readers of this blog may have noticed I have a campaigning streak – I’m not sure what you think about it, but its in my genes!  When I was doing blogging101 in January, we were asked to pick a prompt, and write a post around it.

I chose “Never Surrender, and I wrote about my Dad.  You are welcome to click on the link and read it.  At the time I was feeling a little awkward about publishing a series of posts about the “cock ups” the Royal Mail were, and still are, making – and wasn’t sure whether I should keep them up.  Writing that post convinced me I should, however silly it made me look – smile.

I thought I would use this last week of the A-Z Challenge to write an update of the results – or not – of my little personal campaigns.

me messing around with a picture of postboxes

messing around with a picture of modern postboxes

I am vehemently against the privatisation of Royal Mail – as are may other people who rely on it.  Shares were offered at the end of 2013 and the price was far too low, which resulted in the ‘company’ ending up in the hand of the money men, who are simply interested in reselling them for a quick profit,  and not interested in providing a good service for their customers!

The public service had served us well since 1840, when the first postage stamps were issued – costing just one penny.  They are worth a lot more now!

Privatisation and the need to make a profit, has resulted in the loss of previously stable jobs, and a very unhappy staff.  Worse, the people now running it, have never worked within the system, but have been drafted in from other industries, so they know nothing about its traditions and how to make workable changes.  They have messed around with the pricing structure for the last couple of years, and made major mistakes.

close up of notice - last collection on saturday - 7 am, weekdays - 9 am!

close up of notice – last collection on saturday – 7 am, weekdays – 9 am!

It was a silly thing that got me started on this complaint!

I went to my nearest post box, to post some small orders, one Saturday morning at around 8 am, only to find that, without prior warning, there was a notice saying that the only collection on Saturdays would be at 7 am – ie I’d missed it!  Saturday collections have been at noon for EVER!

Worse, as I was on my way to Asda, and passed another post box, I stopped to look at the notice there, and it still said 12 noon, and the post box at Asda said 9.15am!  Even the guy who runs the local Post Office knew nothing about the change when I asked him!

There followed a series of encounters with Head Office, who were as obfuscating as they could be, and with the local Sorting Office, where I got laughed at.

Even sillier, I finally found out that the notices had been put up but the changes hadn’t happened yet!  

You can follow the series of posts I wrote HERE if you can be bothered to – its a long read – smile. (You will have to scroll down to the bottom to see the first one, and then scroll upwards for the next instalment!

Although nothing specific came out of the fuss I made, a new sticker is to be seen on all the local post boxes, giving the phone number for any queries the public would like to make about collections etc.  I was very heartened to hear a whole section on complaints from all around the country about the change in collection times from rural postboxes,   on Radio 4’s programme, You & Yours, this week.  Whether much will happen after that exposure remains to be seen.

I still don’t know for sure when the collections are, and whether the changes have yet been put into effect- I wonder if they’d tell me if I phoned up the number on the sticker!

cropped-3vert-dry-stone-wall-version-2.jpg In January, I also wrote a post about the new VAT MOSS scheme, which seems to have been introduced to force large companies, like Amazon, to pay their fair share of tax, but is instead making it more difficult for small businesses, and especially craftspeople, to trade.  There have been various petitions, to the European Union, whose legislation this is, and to member country parliaments, but as far as I can tell, no one has done anything to change the scheme.  My plan to open a separate shop on etsy selling digital downloads of my old photographs is still on hold.

the large bin was replaced by the small bin

the large bin was replaced by the small bin

In February, the local council came and changed our large wheelie bins for small ones, apparently in an effort to get us to recycle more.

I was curious as to how much the new bins had cost and whether the old bins had been usefully recycled, so I asked them.

I did eventually get some answers, but did not pursue the issue to the bitter end – it was enough to be able to show that people all over the world had read my blogs about this.

The Council Officials were prepared for some criticism on this policy, but they do not yet have a culture of recognising that freedom of information means transparency and accountability.  It would be nice if they got into the habit or publishing information like this without having to be cajoled into doing so!

Still they have come a long way from the petty officialdom that WAS once the prevailing culture – and unfortunately still is in many parts  of the world.  If I lived in India, China or Russia, to name but a few of the countries that abound with petty corruption – I might have found myself in prison just for asking those questions, or at the very least, would think nothing of having to pay a bribe to a local official to get my rubbish collected at all!

You can read the sequence of posts here.

photo of Matt Mullenweg, taken in 2014 (found on his website)

photo of Matt Mullenweg, taken in 2014 (found on his website)

My most recent campaign has stalled.

Ironically, its about WordPress and the changes they have made, and they seem to be the least open to discussion – or, if you like, on a par with the Royal Mail!

It would seem that Matt, who is a co-founder of WordPress thought it would be nice to be able to post short blogs from his mobile, so he wrote a program for it.

He thinks we all should use it – whether we are posting from our computers, i-pads or phones – but it doesn’t work!  I call it Edit Lite. See my postTest on Chrome“.

I spend a great deal of time formatting my posts, so that they are readable, and was finding that when I went back to edit them, the formatting got screwed up.

I was most upset to find this had happened to the last post of the Big Bin Swap series – see above – just at the time I had sent out invitations to the ‘Big Wigs’ from all the Local Councils to read it!

I have fixed it now, so the only thing wrong with it is that a paragraph in the middle has been squashed up.  I purposely haven’t been back to do that on the ‘Test on Chrome’.

I have tried contacting Matt – but he’s unreachable.  I put up a couple of posts, trying to get his attention – see “Message to Matt – 1 & 2“, but answer was there none, not even thro’ the very helpful Happiness Engineer – still makes me laugh, that title!

What she has told me is that they haven’t been able to fix it yet!  Edit Lite is the culprit, and we are being steered towards using it, whether we have up-to-date mobile phones or not!  I’m one of those who doesn’t!

The Classic Editor is now almost impossible to find.  However, I have followed the advice the ‘HE’ gave me, and returned to the Blog Post Page every time, religiously, where Classic Editor can be found by clicking “Add New” at the top of the page, and if I want to edit a post, I do it in that page – and have not had any real problems since!

I am steering well clear of any contact with Edit Lite – it has caused me too much grief!

I am not the only one who has had problems with this, and there are various forums and groups out there that I found when I was trying to get answers, who are extremely angry about the changes that are being made.

AND – it occurs to me that WordPress, of all organisations, should be listening to their customers, and be concerned about how the platform they provide performs.

The internets’ greatest strength is that it allows FREE SPEECH, and has been an important tool for the implementation of those ideals – its a shame to find WordPress, inadvertently perhaps,  acting in a similar fashion to those old fashioned, all powerful dictators!

 

 

vat moss on digital downloads – designed to catch the big fish but only catching the small fry!

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CONFUSED – YOU SHOULD BE!

some definitions/explanations given below ……

Today’s assignment on the blogging101 course is to follow up on yesterday’s assignment which was to visit various blogs and leave comments and see if you could start a conversation going!  The challenge for today, is to write about your comment and expand your thoughts into a longer piece.

Yesterday, I started photographing the new stock that came in (plug), and then had a dentists appointment.  He insisted that two teeth needed to be taken out, and I wanted to keep them. For the first time in my sessions with him, I won, but I paid a price!   By the time I came home, the four injections that my dentist had used whilst filling the teeth, had numbed my mouth so much that I didn’t know where it was, and made me feel so ‘woozy’ that I had to go to bed.

So that’s my excuse for not “doing my homework”!  However, I can write something that fits into today’s brief, and its a subject I was planning on writing about anyway.

cropped-3vert-dry-stone-wall-version-2.jpgThe title of this blog may well sound like gobbledegook to you – actually it is!

Just before New Year, I got one of those regular emails you get from etsy as a buyer, or a seller.  I usually just skim them, and perhaps click on a picture of something someone has made that I like. (its a site for craftspeople to sell their work)

This time there was a blog about the introduction of VAT MOSS to all digital download sellers, which caught my eye because I was planning to open a second shop on etsy to sell digital downloads of my photographs.

I read the blog, I read the comments, commented on the blog and on other sellers comments.  Most of them were absolutely furious, not only that they were now going to have to register for VAT MOSS, but that etsy had left it until the last minute to tell them about it.

I don’t blame the etsy team all that much, after all, not even the tax office seems to be able to explain what to do, although it does seem it is the site that takes the payments that is responsible for registering for this scheme.  I would give you a link to this post, but so many of the hundreds of commenters are easily identified by their pictures, so I think I should just give you the link https://www.etsy.com so you can find the blog for yourself, if you want to.

A good number saw no way round this new regulation, because the digital downloads are done thro’ the etsy site, payments made through PAYPAL, and you don’t even know what country your customer comes from!  Many were seriously intending to close their shops rather than deal with the new regulations, or treat their EU customers separately.

The regulations have been made by the EU, but they affect all small businesses, and large businesses,  selling digital downloads of any kind, from any country to EU customers.  That means that anyone in any country has to pay this tax, and what’s more, you have to register with the tax authorities, even if you only sell £1, $1, 1 euro’s worth of downloads – and that, I think anyone would agree is RIDICULOUS!

As a result, I started looking into this issue and couldn’t believe what an idiotic law it is.  How badly drafted it is, and how the “law of unintended consequences” is going to crush all those small businesses that are now becoming the only way to earn a living since the recession.

cropped-3vert-dry-stone-wall-version-2.jpgI said, in my last blog, that I was now living in a digital world – and now that world is going to be TAXED! 

There are:

photographers selling their photographs – they have to register,

artists selling all digital formats of their work – they have to register,

self publishers selling their books – they have to register,

musicians selling their own music – they have to register,

people selling training videos – they have to register,

knitters selling knitting patterns – they have to register,

(altho the knitters site Ravelry has arranged that another retailer takes the responsibility for tax payments)

 

and nearly everyone who sends digital information around the world is theoretically caught in the EU’s net.

As far as I can tell, the reason the law was drawn up was to get some revenue out of those large tax dodging companies, like Amazon, Apples’s iTunes and SKY, and possibly, it was widened to try and catch those nasty pedophile rings.

Those are the big fish – and, no doubt, they will find a way round the regulations.  We are the small fry, and will be badly affected.  I have put the idea of selling digital downloads of my photographs on the back burner, but at least I hadn’t started yet and won’t have to comply.  There are others that actually earn a reasonable amount from this, and they face the choice of shutting up shop, or paying tax to all the EU countries, all of which, set their VAT at different rates.

And there are not thousands, but millions of small businesses around the world, who will theoretically be affected by this, even if they don’t comply, they will be worried that they might get prosecuted.

There are various angles to this whole discussion, but for once, I think I will make my point and keep this post short – but not sweet.  If you don’t know what I’m on about, the basic explanations are below.

I have signed a couple of  petitions I found against the introduction of this scheme – if you want to sign them too, these are the links – if you can find others to sign, please let me know and I will add them to the list.

http://euvataction.org/take-action-now/  is a site that has been set up to campaign against VAT MOSS

This petition is to the EU official responsible and can be signed by anyone from any country

This is the email address of the UK Treasury official responsible public.enquiries@hmtreasury.gsi.gov.uk    UK  ONLY

This petition is to Vince Cable MP, UK Minister responsible  not sure if those outside the UK can sign it, but you can try.

For UK sellers only, Vince Cable has negotiated that the regulations can be side-stepped, if you email your customer directly – but as I said, etsy sellers don’t know where their buyers are from, so you have to opt out of the digital download  scheme altogether to comply.  As far as I know, no other country has this arrangement,

Brief explanations of the gobbledegook

cropped-3vert-dry-stone-wall-version-2.jpgI will try and be succinct here, and explain what this involves.

VAT is VALUE ADDED TAX – that currently adds 20% onto the cost of each purchase in the UK – excluding most foods and children’s clothes.  The customer pays the tax – usually hidden in the price, and the seller has to add up all those 20%’s and declare them to the VAT man, and pay the tax they have collected to the government.  In return, they are able to get a refund of the VAT they have paid for business supplies etc, which is usually a much smaller amount than they have collected.

In the UK, you can run a small business and NOT be registered for VAT, the threshold for registering for VAT is a turnover of £88,000 (approx) a year  – so why do we have to register for VAT MOSS for a £1 sale?

VAT MOSS is the pan European name for the scheme to collect this tax.  MOSS is “Mini One Stop Shop”

If you really want to read gobbledegook, this is the site for the UK’s HMRC (tax office),  I don’t understand it, and there’s enough confusion as it is!

Basically, it tells you how to register and then how to send in your accounts, by country, of your sales, so YOU have to work out what you owe, to all the 26 European countries, pay a total, and the HMRC will distribute each bit to the relevant country.

This blog by Heather Burns is the best account I have seen of the complications and unforeseen consequences of these new regulations.

and just cos I’ve put in all this work to inform you – you can find my etsy shop  here

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