The VAT MOSS petition started by Issy Zinaburg has gathered force. In the last few weeks, hundreds of small business owners have come together and thanks to the efforts of a group of those people, we have had meetings at the highest level and our voices have started to be heard.
There is still a way to go, but we were feeling positive.
Then yesterday Vince Cable (Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills) to whom the petition was addressed, and whose representatives had been at these meetings, had heard and understood our position, responded publicly to the petition.
You can read that response here.
Here is the email I sent yesterday – I am making it public because I am seethingly furious that with 10 working days left before Christmas, we still have no clear guidance from HMRC. Those of us that do know about it are floundering, wondering what the hell we should do – do we close? Do we risk contravening the law by refusing to sell to the EU? Do we take a step back in time, progress and technology and revert to selling only physical products, putting our ebooks on CDs and our courses on USB sticks? (Even this last won’t be safe, as they want to roll out the changes to all products and services “soon” – potentially by 2016).
The email is long, but I believe entirely necessary. Before we started to speak up, they didn’t know we existed. So we must continue to let them know they are suffocating us – and suffocating enterprise and innovation in this country. Many of my less stubborn friends won’t bother to start a business with all this red tape in place – one of the beautiful things about the internet and automated technology was the way it enabled people to try things out.
I am very much hoping that we see a more sympathetic and better researched response from Vince and his team before the week is out.