A European politician with responsibility for the digital economy has responded to micro-businesses' concerns over new EU VAT rules saying that government have had six years to prepare.
Andrus Ansip, vice-president for the digital single market at the European Commissionm published a blog post following anger and confusion over regulations being enforced on 1 January 2015 that require companies selling digital products and services to consumers to charge the applicable VAT in each EU country where sales are made.
"The change in VAT rules was decided democratically, and after years of discussion, by EU member states in 2008," he wrote. "That is six years ago. It was decided that it should be enforced in 2015, giving plenty of time for all to adjust."
Ansip said the rules are being introduced to "establish a level-playing field for smaller companies" by preventing large firms such as Google and Amazon from directing sales through low tax countries.
"Some small and micro companies are worried about what the VAT changes coming on January 1 mean for them," he added. "Given that this change was adopted six years ago, member states should have helped businesses to prepare. But even if the concerns come late, they should be listened to. Companies should not be left alone."
Ansip recommend 'one stop shops' such as the one introduced by the UK government which allows companies to automatically register for VAT in each EU country.
"Small innovative online companies matter to me," the politician concluded. "I want you to have the necessary space to grow into successful businesses and to trade across borders. But I also see the merits in the upcoming VAT change."