Pattern Website Changes & EU VAT Requirements

*Update- 2016-  I now sell E-patterns worldwide on http://wearinghistory.clothing AND http://wearinghistory.etsy.com.  This post is no longer relevant, but in case anyone stumbles across it, I wanted to give updated information**

Howdy all,

Just a quick note to say that I’ve had to temporarily disable pattern sales for customers in the EU (European Union) because of the new digital VAT requirements.

So, as I search for a solution to this problem, since my current website is not set up to be able to handle these changes, I’ve had to disable all EU sales.

I’m working as quickly as possible at finding a solution.  For right now, that looks like I’ll have to be building a new website, or switching all digital products over to a site like Etsy- who handles all the VAT, but does have a downside for me as a seller because of fees involved.

Because of this, I highly suggest that if you previously purchased any e-patterns from me and have not yet downloaded them, go download them now REGARDLESS OF WHERE YOU LIVE.  I won’t be able to change over any purchases to a new system, because I can’t see who downloaded their purchases and who didn’t (It’s all taken care of by my website system hidden away in the magical code that I’m clueless about).

If you pledged for E-patterns in my Kickstarter and live in the EU and haven’t claimed them yet,  contact me through Kickstarter so we can figure it out privately, since you bought the item before the  new regulations were in place.

And in case you’re wondering what I’m talking about and how outside countries can force residents of other countries to collect VAT for them- I’m clueless.  But you can read all about it here, because apparently they can.  And I highly suggest you sign the petition, if you want to see small businesses like my pattern business continue to be able to operate, because these changes will have a HUGE impact on micro-businesses like mine and countless others, many of whom are in the hobby sewing and craft industry.

8 Comments on Pattern Website Changes & EU VAT Requirements

  1. Jan Marriott
    February 13, 2015 at 11:56 am (3 years ago)

    If you sell on etsy or another site I am afraid you will just have to up your prices to account for extra fees…dont give up

    • Lauren
      February 16, 2015 at 10:44 am (3 years ago)

      Yes, you’re right, Jan. Or hopefully I’d sell enough of them to warrant the extra expense. After all, selling some e-patterns is better than none!

  2. Lauriana
    February 14, 2015 at 12:24 am (3 years ago)

    I’m not even aware of all the issues but I live in the EU (the Netherlands, to be precise) and I’m a self-employed seamstress and pattern maker who was at some point interested in setting up a way to sell digital patterns. Because the rules seemed very confusing, I asked the nice gentleman from the tax office who had come to inspect my books. He couldn’t answer my questions….
    Rules about VAT, digital products and international trade are just SO complicated.
    I hope you’ll be able to figure something out soon. Best of luck!

    • Lauren
      February 16, 2015 at 10:44 am (3 years ago)

      I agree. A lot of people who deal with taxes here are completely unaware of these new rules. I think it took pretty much all of us by surprise.

  3. kurosakurambou
    February 14, 2015 at 6:20 am (3 years ago)

    This is just the most annoying thing! I live in the EU and have lived with customs and huge fees on everything for ages but it just keeps getting worse. If I buy your patterns as a physical product I need to pay tax, duty and a huge fee to collect my pattern at the post office… Which made the download a good option but now that has been destroyed too – I really hope you can figure something out.

    • Lauren
      February 16, 2015 at 10:43 am (3 years ago)

      I hope so, too. It’s really hard for buyers, and I tried to do e-patterns as a solution for both of us so that you guys could save on shipping fees, but now it’s going to be harder for me and you again :(

  4. Erika
    February 15, 2015 at 12:48 am (3 years ago)

    I understand that this sounds insane, and while I’ve only read a little about it, I beg all of you to just consider this for a minute: As a EU-resident I have add tax to all products I sell. If a customer buys a similar physical ware abroad, customs is added at the buyers expense, levelling the field of competition in price-setting. This has not been the case for electronic goods, meaning that anything I sell to a Swedish resident I have to charge 25% more than my US counterpart. Where do you think the customers will go?
    This is actually the major reason I didn’t follow through on my dream to start a pattern making business (I followed another dream instead :) ). There was just simply no way I could have competed with the international prices.

    Off course it’s sad how this will affect small businesses right now, and I sincerely hope that the market will develop easy to use systems to make this a minor problem in the future, giving us an even field of competition and a world full of possibilities for small companies all across the world.

    Kindly, Erika

    • Lauren
      February 16, 2015 at 10:41 am (3 years ago)

      Hi Erika,

      I completely understand your concern as an EU resident. What makes it hard for us in the USA is HOW to implement these changes. Since e-patterns are a digital product, there’s a lot of coding and prep that makes it extremely difficult for someone who is a one person run company without a tech background to implement the system that is now required. Unfortunately, my website service was totally unprepared for these changes, and has been really no help to me.
      I’m sure like everything else it will make sense eventually, but right now it’s proving much more difficult because of the technological requirements that need to be in place to collect information, tax countries differently, and find out how to register (there is not a place to register in the USA- we’d have to set up “residence” somewhere else), and then report.
      It has taken the USA residents by surprise, that we are expected to file- even though we reside outside of the EU.
      In our country, if you buy something from another state, you are supposed to report what you buy to your state and pay sales tax to your state on your purchase- so this is totally the reverse of what we’re used to dealing with.
      And as a small company in the USA- when the shipping prices raised it completely squashed my international sales- because people can’t justify $20 shipping on a sewing pattern (understandably). So trying to find a solution to stay afloat I finally committed to e-patterns. Now it seems like that’s getting squashed too- not just because it will raise prices for international customers, but because as a one person run business, it’s a LOT of planning, paperwork, and technical computer skill that I’m completely unfamiliar with. With another fledgling business, it’s hard to be knocked back a few rungs on one which was finally starting to go somewhere.
      Thanks for your concerns and letting me know your feelings. Just wanted to let you know a bit more of what it’s like for a tiny company here to try to understand this.