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Tschakko

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The problem is that they - unlike every other entity I and other Europeans do business with - refuse to divulge their VAT registration number. This has been covered extensively over the last bazillion pages, so I'll not rehash it any further here. I just note that three years on, paying customers are still being kept in the dark.

 

Apparently the "legal dept" decided against maaking the VAT number known while any other company will happily publish it on their website or at last on their invoices. I'm sure that if it good enough for companies like Amazon, Netflix ... it shoul be good enough for GS. Not providing the number at least gives th impression that something is fishy...

I find it hard to believe that, now that Euro<>Dollar rate is what it is, GS is covering the difference between 30Euro ($32.75) and $30 + 21% VAT ($36.30).

 

OK -- so when the exchange rate was higher, some European cachers thought they were getting ripped off and Groundspeak wasn't actually doing it to cover VAT, I get that. But now that rates are lower, you think Groundspeak is perpetrating VAT fraud because you're not getting ripped off enough?

 

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Couldn't tell you about why legal hasn't given the green light on publishing the VAT number. But if it were truly public information under EU regulations, one could put "Groundspeak" into a text search in VIES and just look it up. The fact that VIES will only verify whether or not a number is valid shows that the numbers aren't necessarily public information. I'll let anyone who is interested on the digital privacy concerns over VAT numbers do their own research, but it's readily available on the VIES site.

 

edit to add: I just checked two of my favorite Europe-based geocoin sellers. They do not have VAT numbers listed on their websites, though they have charged me VAT in the past. (I'm not going to pull them into this debate by naming which ones, Yellow ants can do his or her own homework.) So that's at least two entities that European geocachers do business with that have the same view as Groundspeak.

 

edit to add again: US tax ID numbers (Employer Identification Number or EIN) is only public information for publicly-held corporations, i.e., those that are traded on the market. Groundspeak is not such a company, and they may be treating their VAT ID the same way they treat their EIN.

Edited by hzoi

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Couldn't tell you about why legal hasn't given the green light on publishing the VAT number. But if it were truly public information under EU regulations, one could put "Groundspeak" into a text search in VIES and just look it up. The fact that VIES will only verify whether or not a number is valid shows that the numbers aren't necessarily public information. I'll let anyone who is interested on the digital privacy concerns over VAT numbers do their own research, but it's readily available on the VIES site.

 

edit to add: I just checked two of my favorite Europe-based geocoin sellers. They do not have VAT numbers listed on their websites, though they have charged me VAT in the past. (I'm not going to pull them into this debate by naming which ones, Yellow ants can do his or her own homework.) So that's at least two entities that European geocachers do business with that have the same view as Groundspeak.

 

edit to add again: US tax ID numbers (Employer Identification Number or EIN) is only public information for publicly-held corporations, i.e., those that are traded on the market. Groundspeak is not such a company, and they may be treating their VAT ID the same way they treat their EIN.

 

At some point, Groundspeak changed from Bryan's commitment to improve communication, and provide as much information as they can, to the "we don't have to tell you so we won't" position. There is no need to rehash that. It might be worth noting, however, that a seller of geocoins would not be under the same rules as a member of the non-Union MOSS selling electronic services. Some electronic service providers do a good job of providing information about the VAT, some post their VAT numbers (although these are not necessarily in the VIES database), some do not.

 

Although the majority of EU states do not require VAT invoices on electronic services provided across borders, the EU itself states that there is nothing to restrict providers from providing more. Given the different VAT rates - and in some cases, different invoice requirements -- things can get complicated very quickly, which is perhaps why this thread goes on in the absence of further information from Groundspeak.

Edited by geodarts

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It's only been 1286 days since Bryan promised to research whether they could divulge the VAT registration and to provide more information if it is possible. In order to help that research, previous posts have demonstrated that there is no problem in providing it. Simply providing that information and a FAQ relating to the one-stop scheme for non-EU companies, including the VAT rate that is applied for each country (as some other businesses that are registered under that plan do) might have ended the thread a long time ago and demonstrated Bryan's commitment to improving communication.

 

It will be interesting to learn how Brexit impacts the EU registration - although I assume it will have to be researched through other sources since Groundspeak has never seen fit to tell people how the plan works. For now it appears that there are no immediate changes for non-EU companies.

 

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Edited to clarify that there have been some changes since this thread begs. Electronic services are now part of the non-Union VAT MOSS scheme (Mini One Stop Shop). It is essentially identical to the EU MOSS that went into effect in 2015. It might be noted that although the majority of member states do not require VAT invoices for electronic services across borders, there are some exceptions. According to the EU, nothing prevents a company from providing more information than is required. As before, the taxation rate for the EU varies according to where the consumer lives, so how much VAT is paid and how much the Groundspeak services cost will vary accordingly.

 

I don't necessarily have a dog in this hunt...sellers want to increase profits and buyers want to reduce expenses. It's been the same since the world's first economy, I'm sure.

 

However, if you said you're going to research something for your paying customers some 1,200 days ago, especially disenfranchised paying customers, you should man up and do it.

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