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Different prices of Premium Membership


Tschakko
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Theoretically speaking even if they did provide a VAT registration number, if they did keep the VAT there's not a whole lot a European tax authority could do about it.

 

It´s easy for the European tax authority. You bought it, you owe the tax, you are going to pay it. How you get your money back is your problem.

The major difference is with the VAT registration number you can claim that you believed the tax would be forwarded and can´t be held responsible for the vendor´s failure. Without it you might well have committed tax evasion. Here you wont get jailed for 6€ but you might loose licenses that required reliability to get them. German authorities tend to be harsh on people evading taxes.

 

If you get assessed for taxes you pay the taxes, it's not difficult. If the taxes weren't charged at source and the taxman wants to levy taxes on imported goods it's for them to do so. When I order items from abroad they have to clear customs when they arrive in the UK, and when they come through customs the taxman has the right to charge VAT if they so choose. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don't. If goods are imported into the country with an accurate description and value quoted it's hard to see how the taxman could accuse anyone of evading taxes (which implies fraudulent behaviour) when the full value of the imported items was correctly declared to them and they chose not to charge taxes.

 

The point is although the taxman might come after me for the VAT on my purchase, even if I could show that I already paid the VAT to a US company it's hard to see how the UK taxman has any authority over that US firm to force it to hand over the money it listed under "VAT" on my invoice.

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Clearly I don't know anything for sure, and there have been some answers here from GS which are at best ambiguous, and at worst duplicitous, but there was a response by someone (Brian?) which said that basically since 2003 they have been paying the VAT for EU customers, so they were effectively charging us in the UK ~ $25 + VAT (or whatever depending on the VAT rate at the time), and were paying the VAT to HMRC. If that's the case then all they're guilty of is not providing a proper VAT receipt.

 

It beggars belief though that they've been dealing with the VAT for almost 10 years and they still don't know what their responsibilities are with respect to collecting & accounting for VAT.

 

This is just one of many things that makes no sense. If the law has applied since 2003, and if it actually applies to Groundspeak, it really does beggar belief that they've been handing over a proportion of the premium membership fees paid by UK and EU premium members and only now decided to start passing on the tax to us. As you say it also beggars belief that Groundspeak appears to have such little understanding of VAT if they have been processing it for a decade.

 

Ultimately if the law applies to Groundspeak they appear inept at best in their dealings with it; if it does not they appear dishonest in their justifications for a price increase. Either way this episode doesn't make them look particularly competent.

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After reading a few legal documents I found this:

 

"Invoices

It is common practice for businesses supplying electronically supplied

services to issue electronically an invoice or similar document which confirms

the details of the sale. There are no special rules for issuing VAT invoices

under the Special Scheme and consequently the normal rules apply. In the

UK you are not required to issue VAT invoices for such supplies because your

customers are not in business for the purposes of the Special Scheme and

cannot deduct VAT on their purchases. "

(Source HMRC)

 

So it seems they are not obligated to share VAT number or invoices with the customures.. Even it's commen practice ;)

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I think it makes sense that the VAT and exchange rates would raise the price. But Groundspeak should've warned you with more advance notice than they did.

 

VAT - Yes, if it applies. I am still missing proof on this one through their registration number.

Exchange Rates - No, as it is not their problem. They do not have to cover us in €. Paypal and CreditCards do give us a reasonable exchange rate, Groundspeak does not!

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So it seems they are not obligated to share VAT number or invoices with the customures.. Even it's commen practice ;)

I don't know about UK laws, but here in Germany it is mandatory to give the VAT rate and VAT amount in € on any receipt. Even when you just buy a box of milk in the local super market you'll find VAT rate and amount on the receipt issued at the check-out.

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So it seems they are not obligated to share VAT number or invoices with the customures.. Even it's commen practice ;)

I don't know about UK laws, but here in Germany it is mandatory to give the VAT rate and VAT amount in € on any receipt. Even when you just buy a box of milk in the local super market you'll find VAT rate and amount on the receipt issued at the check-out.

 

I think the same rules apply across the whole of the EU

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I don't know about UK laws, but here in Germany it is mandatory to give the VAT rate and VAT amount in € on any receipt. Even when you just buy a box of milk in the local super market you'll find VAT rate and amount on the receipt issued at the check-out.

 

Same here on all receipts and invoices. Everything is itemized and VAT rate/amount per article is shown. Standard info on all receipts is shopname, address on receipts and also phonenumber, bankinfo, VAT registration info and Chamber of commerce registration nr. on invoices.

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After reading a few legal documents I found this:

 

"Invoices

It is common practice for businesses supplying electronically supplied

services to issue electronically an invoice or similar document which confirms

the details of the sale. There are no special rules for issuing VAT invoices

under the Special Scheme and consequently the normal rules apply. In the

UK you are not required to issue VAT invoices for such supplies because your

customers are not in business for the purposes of the Special Scheme and

cannot deduct VAT on their purchases. "

(Source HMRC)

 

So it seems they are not obligated to share VAT number or invoices with the customures.. Even it's commen practice ;)

 

Bit of a blow if the customer is a business and therefore can reclaim the VAT, unless suddenly a VAT registered business is suddenly no longer allowed to reclaim the VAT on a legitimate business expense.

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The main issue remains. How can one justify 29,99 for EU (24,99 £ for UK) geocachers even if the EU's highest vat rate is applied?

And how can one justify that I cannot choose the currency to be used in my payment (and assume the exchange risks) unless I lie about my Country?

 

Again, if Groundspeak needs more money say it clearly and raise the fee for everyone, equally, and I'll be glad to continue to support them after my present subscription.

 

Post screenshoted.

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Just a shame communication hadn't been better.

 

Hmm, why have you removed your posting? I would have been interested in the answer and I think others also would like to know why Groundspeak on the one hand said, recurring members stay at the price and on the other hand recommends to cancel the recurring membership and buy a new one - with new price.

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How does one go about reporting a crime of corporate fraud in the USA?

I would assume that you don't need to be a USA citizen to do so. So we could all inform the authorities that a firm is possibly fibbing.

I do like the way that we've gone back to the good old days when we were routinely ignored if we had any issues because it was Jeremy's game and if you didn't like it then tough.

At the end of the day the lackeys know there's little they can say so they're just letting everyone vent hoping it'll all blow over.

 

 

Now what to look up first, HMRC "report a tax fraud" or USA "Internet crime reporting"

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How does one go about reporting a crime of corporate fraud in the USA?

I would assume that you don't need to be a USA citizen to do so. So we could all inform the authorities that a firm is possibly fibbing.

I do like the way that we've gone back to the good old days when we were routinely ignored if we had any issues because it was Jeremy's game and if you didn't like it then tough.

At the end of the day the lackeys know there's little they can say so they're just letting everyone vent hoping it'll all blow over.

 

 

Now what to look up first, HMRC "report a tax fraud" or USA "Internet crime reporting"

 

I wouldn't bother looking up anything with HMRC, hard to see what they can do to a non-UK company that has no operation in the UK for the same reason it's hard to see how they can require that same foreign company to charge VAT.

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I wouldn't bother looking up anything with HMRC, hard to see what they can do to a non-UK company that has no operation in the UK for the same reason it's hard to see how they can require that same foreign company to charge VAT.

 

It does not do any harm filing a report. If they have ways to enforce it they will do so. If not, then not.

 

Does it do any harm to file reports with both? US and UK/EU.

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I wouldn't bother looking up anything with HMRC, hard to see what they can do to a non-UK company that has no operation in the UK for the same reason it's hard to see how they can require that same foreign company to charge VAT.

 

It does not do any harm filing a report. If they have ways to enforce it they will do so. If not, then not.

 

Does it do any harm to file reports with both? US and UK/EU.

 

File a report if you think it will help but hard to see how it's going to do anything. If all you've got to go on is "this foreign company might not be playing by the rules and the only evidence I have is a thread on an internet forum" I can't see them taking it hugely seriously.

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I wouldn't bother looking up anything with HMRC, hard to see what they can do to a non-UK company that has no operation in the UK for the same reason it's hard to see how they can require that same foreign company to charge VAT.

 

It does not do any harm filing a report. If they have ways to enforce it they will do so. If not, then not.

 

Does it do any harm to file reports with both? US and UK/EU.

 

File a report if you think it will help but hard to see how it's going to do anything. If all you've got to go on is "this foreign company might not be playing by the rules and the only evidence I have is a thread on an internet forum" I can't see them taking it hugely seriously.

 

If someone DID file a report, they might get the actual facts of the matter from someone in a position to speak authoritatively.

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Well if one thing is to be said true, then that they are not playing by the rules in one way or the other.

 

We know they do have to charge EU VAT

So there is two posibilities:

1. They do, then they failed to do it correctly.

2. They do not, then they claim sth in the name of the EU, which is not legal either.

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I wouldn't bother looking up anything with HMRC, hard to see what they can do to a non-UK company that has no operation in the UK for the same reason it's hard to see how they can require that same foreign company to charge VAT.

 

It does not do any harm filing a report. If they have ways to enforce it they will do so. If not, then not.

 

Does it do any harm to file reports with both? US and UK/EU.

 

File a report if you think it will help but hard to see how it's going to do anything. If all you've got to go on is "this foreign company might not be playing by the rules and the only evidence I have is a thread on an internet forum" I can't see them taking it hugely seriously.

 

If someone DID file a report, they might get the actual facts of the matter from someone in a position to speak authoritatively.

 

I doubt it very much. If I file a report with the UK tax authorities it won't force Groundspeak to tell me any more than they already have, and the UK taxman won't tell me what's going on because of data protection. So the chances are I'd still be done the wiser.

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All this and nobody is questioning why a government needs to charge 20% tax. Groundspeak is not the only ones ripping you off. :blink:

 

There is a lot of social security going on here in Europe. Insurances cost money. Be asured it´s public what they charge for. Not always the best decisions, but I guess no country can say so.

 

Anyways, this is not the question in this thread. So far everyone here has said they would pay the VAT. But only the VAT! If they want more money on top of that, they should do so on a worldwide basis, not just on the back of Europeans!

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All this and nobody is questioning why a government needs to charge 20% tax. Groundspeak is not the only ones ripping you off. :blink:

 

VAT in Europe has always been at that kind of level. Why it's needed is another subject entirely, a subject that has nothing at all to do with features and suggestions for the web site so doesn't really belong here.

 

If the rule does apply to Groundspeak (and it still seems to be left unanswered why Groundspeak suddenly care what the UK taxman has to say about anything) then 20% is the rate and complaining about it will make as much difference as a US citizen complaining about the rate of sales tax in their home state.

Edited by team tisri
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If the rule does apply to Groundspeak (and it still seems to be left unanswered why Groundspeak suddenly care what the UK taxman has to say about anything) then 20% is the rate and complaining about it will make as much difference as a US citizen complaining about the rate of sales tax in their home state.

As far as I understand the European Tax Laws, the VAT for digital content depends on the Country the Customer lives in. For Brits they'd have to pay British VAT, for Germans German VAT and so on. Edited by squirrel42
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I'm really disappointed about the bad communication of Groundspeak. Each week we can receive a newsletter with more or less important informations (and new caches). But about a pricing scheme change we must learn from forums and people who raise their voices. Each time I go to the login screen, I can see some advertising from Groundspeak or others. This would also have been a place to inform your users. Why didn't you use the means you have? It would have been much easier than it is today after such a mess :-(

The only advantage I see to be a PM are the pocket queries. At least that's the reason for me to be a PM. All other, so called advantages, don't count for me.

And being able to declare a cache to be PM only is discriminating from my point of view. I will NEVER use this possibility.

 

I'm just disappointed about the way this subject runs.

 

By the way: There are so many possible improvements on the geocaching web page. I hope you will invest the additional money in this (and I don't talk about icons and souvenirs)...

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I'm really disappointed about the bad communication of Groundspeak. Each week we can receive a newsletter with more or less important informations (and new caches). But about a pricing scheme change we must learn from forums and people who raise their voices. Each time I go to the login screen, I can see some advertising from Groundspeak or others. This would also have been a place to inform your users. Why didn't you use the means you have? It would have been much easier than it is today after such a mess :-(

Hey Groundspeek is "on the learning curve". You can't expect a brand new concept called "communication" being installed that quickly. ;)

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I doubt it very much. If I file a report with the UK tax authorities it won't force Groundspeak to tell me any more than they already have, and the UK taxman won't tell me what's going on because of data protection. So the chances are I'd still be done the wiser.

 

You don't think you would even get a :blink: if a US company wasn't required to charge a VAT in the first place?

 

That's bureaucracy for ya. :(

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Sorry to bring this up again, but can someone please answer e question about gifted memberships?

 

What will e gifting party in the US be charged for gifting a PM to a European? $30 or €30 plus exchange rate (which is even worse)?

 

As for GS and your communication strategy, please stop trying to give short answers, hoping e problem will go away. It will not. You are dealing with highly qualified individuals, that CARE. US culture phrase do not work.

 

If I may... I suggest to seriously consider (read, understand, consider and discuss) the commenst and give the community a date as to when you will respond with a position statement. And respond on that date with a position statement that shows you listened. I still believe, that the community WANTS to believe you, because we are loving th hobby. But for now you are making it difficult to stay onboard.

 

Thore

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Post from very early in this thread:

 

To be clear, only new/nonrecurring members will be paying the new rates. If you have a recurring membership, you are locked in at the rates you have always been paying.

 

If if only applies to new members or those without the recurring billing option, why not just change to recurring billing and AVOID the issue? Perhaps there is some type of exemption for recurring/long established customers?

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If if only applies to new members or those without the recurring billing option, why not just change to recurring billing and AVOID the issue?

And there is the next unanswered question: If you change to recurring now will you then pay the old price?

Say, I am a norecurring PM and my next turn would be in June and I'd tick the option recurrung today, what would they charge me in June?

Edited by squirrel42
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If if only applies to new members or those without the recurring billing option, why not just change to recurring billing and AVOID the issue?

And there is the next unanswered question: If you change to recurring now will you then pay the old price?

Say, I am a norecurring PM and my next turn would be in June and I'd tick the option recurrung today, what would they charge me in June?

 

Exactly what I was asking nearly 3 pages ago in this thread, and we are still missing an answer...

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...

If I may... I suggest to seriously consider (read, understand, consider and discuss) the commenst and give the community a date as to when you will respond with a position statement. And respond on that date with a position statement that shows you listened. I still believe, that the community WANTS to believe you, because we are loving th hobby. But for now you are making it difficult to stay onboard.

 

 

(bold is mine)

 

Exactly what's happening with me! I WANT TO STAY and continue to support Groundspeak and this hobby in Geocaching.com!

 

I am proud of being a Charter Member (the only one in Portugal) and helped Groundspeak from the very first year - I still remember the messages and appeals, back in August, 2002, to be part of the "first money" that helped GrounsSpeak in those first and very important years that defines if a new business succeeds or not.

 

But, despite I was not directly affected (my subscription is automatically renewed every year and I paid the usual price) I can't accept this discrimination over EU Geocachers (they already fixed the currency to European countries that don't use €).

 

So, if this situation remains unanswered and unsolved, my interpretation is that Groundspeak is forcing me to abandon it.

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I doubt it very much. If I file a report with the UK tax authorities it won't force Groundspeak to tell me any more than they already have, and the UK taxman won't tell me what's going on because of data protection. So the chances are I'd still be done the wiser.

 

You don't think you would even get a :blink: if a US company wasn't required to charge a VAT in the first place?

 

That's bureaucracy for ya. :(

 

It's simple practicality. My company is based in the UK and operates in the UK. If I ship a product to the US it might be assessed for import duties when it reaches US customs but that's for the US taxman to determine and for the US customer to pay if necessary. Since I have no operation within the US I have no responsibility to comply with US laws. If a product is legal to sell in the UK but illegal to own in the US, the US customer can look forward to the item being confiscated by customs and that still isn't my problem.

 

If the US government announces that it expects me to levy sales tax on my online sales based on which state I'm shipping to the short answer is, more or less, that they can get stuffed. Working in the UK I have a responsibility to comply with UK legislation but US law is nothing to do with me.

 

Likewise Groundspeak is based in the US and has no operation in Europe, so it's hard to see what authority any EU body has over its operations.

 

All that said the fact we haven't heard anything from Groundspeak in a while suggests they aren't even reading the thread any more, in which case it tells us all we need to know about how much they care about what their paying customers are saying.

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Do you really have deleted (censored) my posting???

I can't believe it.

I thought we/you live in a democracy with free speech for everyone?! Who do you think you are? Kim Jong-un?

Did you delete my posting because you didn't like what i wrote?

 

Do i voilated your "Forum Guidelines"?

 

Part of your guidelines:

"2. Forum courtesy: Please treat Groundspeak, its employees, volunteers, fellow community members, and guests in these forums with courtesy and respect. Whether a community member has one post or 5,000 posts, everyone should be treated respectfully."

 

Please start to practice what you preach !!!

 

Do you think you treated me respectfully by censoring/deleting my post?

 

Do you think the way you treat paying customers is conducive?

 

Think about it.

 

Greets

DNH7280

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Post from very early in this thread:

 

To be clear, only new/nonrecurring members will be paying the new rates. If you have a recurring membership, you are locked in at the rates you have always been paying.

 

If if only applies to new members or those without the recurring billing option, why not just change to recurring billing and AVOID the issue? Perhaps there is some type of exemption for recurring/long established customers?

 

There's a problem with that. If you have to charge VAT then it doesn't matter if you're recurring or not. Hence, recurring membership not paying VAT is illegal or (in all their goodness) GS is paying this tax for them.

On the other hand, the question still remains why GS is "rounding up" the PM fee for EU members and why they want to keep their VAT number a secret as there is no reason to do so. Plenty of people (who have a business) are entitled to VAT refunds and will need that number to claim the already paid VAT back. Putting the VAT number on the invoice is not only good practice it also gives the paying customer the opportunity to check if there really is a VAT registration (and as for business customers help in reclaiming this tax).

 

GS' silence in this topic is saying a lot about this issue.

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Still waiting for a reply and some informations from GS ... whats the problem? Please, it is not about rising the prices (if necessary), but worldwide, or to post the reasons, why Europe should be charged in another way like the rest of the world. Most of us just want to understand this change. Thanks in advance!

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Putting the VAT number on the invoice is not only good practice it also gives the paying customer the opportunity to check if there really is a VAT registration (and as for business customers help in reclaiming this tax).

GS' silence in this topic is saying a lot about this issue.

 

And I guess that is the problem. The can not post their VAT number because there is none...

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Last answer from GS team was 19 April 2013 - 04:26 PM. Loooong ago.

 

Hey, Groundspeak people, your business (and you) live on my money. If I decide not to prolongate my PM, I will face some minor inconveniences, but there are ways to help with it. But you will face lack of cash to maintain you servers. And to feed yourselves.

 

Do you think I will pay for anything to company I feel is dishonest? For people that try to fool me?

 

So, just stand with open face and communicate with your users (paying users) honestly.

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It looks to me like Groundspeak is waiting for things to blow over all by itself like they tend to do usually. But I think (at least I hope!) it won't. As far I'm concerned they've stepped on way to many (European) toes this time.

 

Oh yeah Groundspeak: thank you for deleting, censoring, one of my previous posts. It gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling to see how much you care about what I wrote.

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And I guess that is the problem. The can not post their VAT number because there is none...

You might have a point there. At least I can't think of any serious reason for not giving that number.

 

One example: Here is the imprint of a German sports magazine. You'll find both, business registration and VAT registration right under the company name. They don't have a problem with that, so why should Groundspeek? (Any German company has to give those numbers in the imprint, by the way.)

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Putting the VAT number on the invoice is not only good practice it also gives the paying customer the opportunity to check if there really is a VAT registration (and as for business customers help in reclaiming this tax).

GS' silence in this topic is saying a lot about this issue.

 

And I guess that is the problem. The can not post their VAT number because there is none...

 

That's the problem, they seem to do their utmost to give that impression, true or not. And then people start wondering and assuming that....

 

As a comment to the censorship: Hey GS, read my sig and act accordingly (It's in your constitution too :ph34r: .

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Ok, as I see it, there is no way Groundspeak is gonna get out of this without loosing a large part of credibility.

 

1. If they do have a VAT number, then they loose because of the horrible communication they do. Furthermore due to the lack of will to calculate it properly on europeans. If they wanted to do it right they could. We know this as they do charge a proper VAT rate on citizens of Washington State.

 

2. There is no VAT number. In this case they lied. Still it would be better to confess this as it will be found out. If it´s gonna be discovered by nonofficials then the shame would be even greater.

 

So Groundspeak these are the proper actions to take:

 

- Confess there is no VAT number and you just want more money. This is fine, but do so worldwide and with all members. No matter if recurring or not.

or

- Show your VAT number and charge the proper VAT rate to the customers (As you do with the cachers from Washington State). Give them the option to pay in € or $ (The argument of saving on bankfees is just silly and you are aware of this!).

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Ok, as I see it, there is no way Groundspeak is gonna get out of this without loosing a large part of credibility.

 

1. If they do have a VAT number, then they loose because of the horrible communication they do. Furthermore due to the lack of will to calculate it properly on europeans. If they wanted to do it right they could. We know this as they do charge a proper VAT rate on citizens of Washington State.

 

2. There is no VAT number. In this case they lied. Still it would be better to confess this as it will be found out. If it´s gonna be discovered by nonofficials then the shame would be even greater.

 

So Groundspeak these are the proper actions to take:

 

- Confess there is no VAT number and you just want more money. This is fine, but do so worldwide and with all members. No matter if recurring or not.

or

- Show your VAT number and charge the proper VAT rate to the customers (As you do with the cachers from Washington State). Give them the option to pay in € or $ (The argument of saving on bankfees is just silly and you are aware of this!).

 

Nothing more to add I guess. Well summarized.

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I'd just like to add a few thoughts.

 

Even at the new higher price a year's membership for £24.99 is, as one of the posters in the UK forum put it, less than 50p per week. In European terms €30 works out at €0.60 per week, give or take. I spend many times that on a pint of beer after a day's caching, I spend many times that in petrol if I drive to a caching circuit (50p worth of petrol won't even get 5 miles in my car), I spend more than that in snacks if I take in a few caches on a bike ride. The actual amount of money involved is trivial.

 

What makes a lot of difference is the sense of being lied to, the sense that you, Groundspeak, are taking your European customers (and there are a lot of us) for fools. Unfortunately just about every post from a lackey raises more questions than it answers. I don't imagine there's going to an an official answer but just on the offchance I'd really like to know a few things:

 

1. Why are you charging VAT now, quoting legislation that has been in force for 10 years? What were you doing for 10 years and what has changed now?

 

2. Why won't you give us a VAT registration number so it can be verified? Telling us you don't know if you're allowed to doesn't wash, given a few of us have shown examples that clearly demonstrate it's not only permitted but expected.

 

3. Why are you even interested in what a foreign (to you) tax authority says you have to do anyway? Other companies with no European operations ship their products to the UK, charging their price in their own currency and the obligation to pay any VAT that is assessed as being due falls to me when it arrives. The only foreign companies that charge me VAT are those that have a European subsidiary, when my purchase is from that subsidiary.

 

4. Why do you expect us to accept "this is a learning curve" when you're referring to decade-old legislation? Just how long do you need to get it right? Would you expect residents of Washington state to accept all sorts of apparently random price changes along with a shrug and a "we're getting to grips with this"? Would you expect US tax authorities to put up with you charging some tax that may or may not be the right amount and let you off with getting it all wrong because "it was a learning curve" for you?

 

5. Why do you expect European customers to accept arguments about being protected from currency risk when your way of "protecting" us seems to me little more than rounding the price in your favour? I'd rather know that $30 was going to cost me somewhere between £18 and £20 than have whatever vague security is offered by knowing for sure it's £24.99 - claiming that's anything other than a slightly obfuscated price increase is an insult to my intelligence.

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Section 16.2.1 of Notice 700 aka "the VAT Guide" (viewable here) states that;

You need not issue VAT invoices for supplies to customers who are not VAT registered. In practice, this will probably mean issuing a VAT invoice to any customers who ask for one, as you will usually have no way of telling whether they are VAT registered or not. You do not have to check that a customer is VAT registered before issuing a VAT invoice.

It also states in 16.3.1 that;

VAT invoices must show:

  • an identifying number, which is from a series that is unique and sequential;
  • your name, address and VAT registration number;
  • the time of supply (tax point);

</snip>

As others have stated this will be required for a B2B transaction so that we can claim the VAT back as a legitimate business expense.

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You might have a point there. At least I can't think of any serious reason for not giving that number.

 

One example: Here is the imprint of a German sports magazine. You'll find both, business registration and VAT registration right under the company name. They don't have a problem with that, so why should Groundspeek? (Any German company has to give those numbers in the imprint, by the way.)

..and I found on some american companies, with offices & sale in Europe the VAT Numbers (Apple, IBM, Oracle, McDonalds, BurgerKing, Garmin, Chevrolet)in the imprint

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