SV: [SLED] vat

Asa Rosenberg asa.rosenberg at sociology.gu.se
Sat Sep 29 11:09:57 PDT 2007


According to some comments on the blog
http://blog.secondlife.com/2007/09/28/questions-about-vat/
unless otherwise stated all prices that companies give should include VAT.
So, the reasonable thing for europeans to have assumed previously is that
VAT was included.
In practice this means that all europeans that already has subscriptions to
Linden services is actually getting a price raise, not added tax.

-asa

-----Ursprungligt meddelande-----
Fran: educators-bounces at lists.secondlife.com
[mailto:educators-bounces at lists.secondlife.com]För Gavin Dudeney
Skickat: den 29 september 2007 10:50
Till: 'SL Educators'
Ämne: RE: [SLED] vat


Ed,

Your points are taken, but just let me reiterate:

1) We weren't paying tax when billing was done from the USA
2) We are now it is done from the UK
3) We had no warning - it was simply done
4) My company is tax exempt, but the tax has already been deducted
5) That is rather annoying :-)
6) It's also a lengthy process to get it back
7) LL's system automatically deducts tax but doesn't recognise my tax number
8) They have sent me no VAT invoice since applying this change
9) I need one for accounting purposes

I could go on - the argument is not that we shouldn't pay - and no, we
didn't get a free ride for ages because the VAT law didn't apply when
billing was done from the States - the argument is that they are woefully
inadequate when it comes to communicating important changes to their
clients, and that this change has been poorly implemented to please some
bureaucrats somewhere without taking into account the effect it would have
on people (not just economic, but also in terms of morale and our belief in
whether they actually care about their clients or not), and without making
it easy to prove that some of us do not have to pay this.

It's another poor decision and another poor set of actions. If the
day-to-day operational decisions (such as 'let's tell them about the VAT
once we've taken their money') are taken by people who don't care a jot for
the client, and don't think them through properly so that, for example,
everyone gets charged on the basis of the country they put down when they
signed up for an account..... then perhaps SL will die a death sooner than I
had anticipated.

A company dealing with a worldwide client list can't operate effectively
without some sense of how things work in another country. Am I supposed to
believe the decision to add VAT was taken yesterday, five minutes before VAT
was slapped on all our bills? Surely someone in LL must have known about it
a wee while before it was done? Did the big players like Anshe Chung get a
heads up slightly earlier than me? I don't see her complaining (and her new
bill must run to several thousand $s in VAT).

In summary, it's not the tax - it's the way it was communicated, and the way
it has been implemented. They've used another sledgehammer to crack another
nut, and it's simply disrespectful to the client. That was my main point.

And, to cap it all, after a day of hundreds of postings to the main SL
forums, of a few here, of a few dozen Twitters, discussions on plenty of
blogs, not one representative of the company has put their head above the
parapet to:

1) Mention the new VAT charges
2) Explain why they were applied under a cloak of secrecy
3) Explain the facile structure implemented to take this money

[ and on a personal note...]

4) Answer my two tickets in concierge support asking for a VAT invoice and
my money back

It just goes on. Even to a (relatively) sensible person like me who enjoys
SL, enjoys working in SL and has been a staunch defender of SL in all sorts
of online and RL fora for quite some time now, this is one of those straws
which is hanging heavy on my back and depressing me enough to consider
moving on and waiting for a company who will come along, make something
similar, but have the organisational structure in place to make it work. And
the courtesy to keep me - as a paying client - informed of decisions which
will affect me, and not when they've been taken, implemented and programmed
into the back end - no, I'd like to hear about them when they are being
discussed.

More than anything, I would simply like to hear from a member of LL - either
personally, or on a list such as this - and to hear an explanation for the
cack-handed way this has been done, and to receive some kind of personal
help in wending my way through the torturous new VAT pages on the SL website
so that I can establish my VAT-exempt status and get back to work.

As a private educational consultancy I have never bothered to ask for the
50% educational discount (having seen how difficult it would be for my
company) and we have paid full price for our three sims, and pay full tier.
But this is a step too much.

Gavin


-----Original Message-----
From: Ed Lamoureux


I was under the impression that the VAT was an EU monetary and trade
matter over which LL was simply complying?
I'm not defending LL here. But they've been accused of "slapping on"
or "adding a tax without notice," etc. My understanding was that the
overseas VAT has been on the EU books for around 3 years.


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