This week eBay launched a pan-European petition to give customers a voice in the current discussion to change the EU Value Added Tax (VAT) system. EU leaders are currently discussing changes to the existing EU VAT system that could have a significantly negative impact on small businesses and consumers in Europe, including:
- New taxes on cross-border sales
- Higher prices for consumers
- More red tape for European small businesses
- Less cross-border trade within Europe
- Less choice for consumers
In fact, these proposed VAT reforms would force European small businesses who currently do not charge VAT in their home country to do so for sales to other EU countries as soon as they reach the relatively paltry level of €10,000 across the entirety of the European Union. Which means these proposals would have the largest negative effect on the smallest micro enterprises and artisans – many of them in the most remote parts of Europe – who depend on online marketplaces like eBay to reach new markets to grow their businesses. This could force many of these small businesses to stop exporting entirely, undermining Internet-enabled economic growth in Europe. Additionally, these new rules would make low value imports from outside the EU subject to VAT, which will hurt European consumers when their household budgets are already being squeezed.
At the completion of this petition campaign, the eBay Government Relations team and members of the eBay Small Business Ambassador Network will formally present the petition to European leaders. As always, eBay will continue to fight for legislation that is fair for sellers and consumers.