Tuesday, 18 August 2015

A demand from Ireland

I got a letter from the Irish tax authorities, telling me that I had faile to pay them 503 euros (or something like that) and I was now incurring a daily penalty of 0.037% per day (or something like that).

I was a bit surprised. I've never paid the Irish tax authorities, because I'm not Irish. So why do they suddenly think I should? I put the letter aside to show my book-keeper, maybe she could shed light on the situation.

Then I got an email from the Irish tax authorities, telling me that the letter was in error. Some people had been told the wrong amounts, and people who paid via Vat Moss should ignore the letter. This was rapidly followed by a letter from our own dear HMRC saying the same thing.

Vat Moss is the Vat Multiple One Stop Shop. What happened was, as of January 1 2015, if you're offering services electronically, then instead of paying the UK rate of Vat in the UK, you pay the rate of Vat in the country where the customer is, and you declare the amounts in an HMRC form called the Vat Moss, and they (I guess) pass it on to the country in question.

The big problem (for me) was that I found out about it on December 30, 2014. It wasn't publicised at all well, I found out completely by accident. Actually it wasn't such a big problem; I was able to change my billing software so that it kept track of the billing to each EEC country, and then at the end of the three month period, I could add up the total for each country, and fill in the rather badly designed Vat Moss form. It's badly designed because you have to do each country, one at a time, and I don't see an easy way to do the 27 countries at once. 27, not 28, because you don't pay UK Vat via Vat Moss.

Also, it's out of synchronisation. My Vat periods for the UK are Feb-Apr, May-Jul etc, whereas my Vat Moss periods are Jan-Mar, Apr-June etc. Annoying.

And I got things slightly wrong the first time I did it, and double-paid some Vat, and had to correct it next time around, which is always a fraught situation.

And when Luxemburg changed their Vat rate fom 18% to 19% (or something like that) and I didn't notice, I got a stuffy email from the Luxembourg tax authorities, and I had to pay an additional two euros, 14 cents (or somewhat about that much).

So the whole scheme has teething problems, not the least of which is that I'd guess that a *lot* of people who should be using it, haven't heard.

Including, it would seem, the Irish tax authorities.

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