How I will not allow VATMOSS to destroy my blogging courses

VATMOSS or VATMESS making selling blogging courses difficultI haven’t been idle since I last wrote about the EU VAT legislation due to come into force on 1 January 2015.

I’ve been finding out as much as I can about this, to prepare me for the way ahead. OK, the powers that be may be determined to prevent me from selling my blogging courses, by putting in front of me as many barriers as they can, but I will not succumb.

Human clicks

The main catalyst to not charging VAT is human intervention. The more of this that I place within the transaction and delivery of my blogging courses means I need not charge VAT for them.

Human intervention is when I physically do something rather than it being automated. For example, I will have to manually send emails containing elements of my blogging courses. This means I will have to actively click the send button for a personal email from me to you, created that day specifically for that purpose.

Anything that is prepared in advance and automatically set to go out via an auto responder system is subject to VAT.

Human input

Obviously I will have to prepare my blogging courses in advance, such as training videos, Slideshare presentations, e-books in pdf format and other teaching material. Anything prepared in advance is deemed not to have human input, and therefore will be VATable.

Even though the video and Slideshare can be viewed via my blog’s pages, the pdf and e-books will be delivered in such a way that requires downloading them onto your computers so you can read them. For example, if I include a pdf within an email, the very process of gathering it from the email is deemed as downloading, and therefore VATable.

The answer is to make my videos, Slideshares, e-books and pdfs that accompany my blogging courses as complimentary, as you cannot add VAT to something that is free.

Human interaction

Any blogging courses that contain a forum or social media group, for example in Facebook or LinkedIn, goes a long way towards human intervention.

This is because the VAT men deem this as providing personal input within a live format. This does not include paid-for pre-recorded elements, and the interaction and engagement provides the live online contributions. It is, of course, a great way for learners to interact with their teacher, learn more, and have their queries answered promptly.

This may not be suitable for every blogging courses’ users, as not all may want to or can participate in this way, so facilities for Q&A via a chatroom or regular emails would also be a good alternative.

Human presence

Including live teaching is another strong contender towards making blogging courses VAT-free. Live webinars, teleseminars, Google+ hangouts, Skype calls and offline events such as workshops and seminars are deemed as not VATable.

Also since online live event booking systems do not incur VAT, I need to set up a paid-for live webinar to teach my blogging courses. I would then offer the pre-recorded educational materials: the videos, Slideshares, pdfs and e-books, as complimentary bonuses that accompany the live teaching.

Teaching online has to become virtual face to face or audible live events at a prescribed time. Recordings can be made, but they need to be treated and delivered also as complimentary bonuses.

Human payment

Monetary transaction automatically completed online from a payment system with an EU citizen may incur VAT. So this needs to be accomplished manually to prevent this.

To pay for my blogging courses, anyone from the EU will have to contact me via email with their payment details, which I will physically enter into my payment facility.

I will have to set up a system that determines and separates EU citizens and gathers the necessary data to prove their country of origin. This has to be kept for 10 years.

Human sacrifice

Not being able to automate my blogging courses is like going back into the dark ages. This disallows the ease and convenience of automatically delivering my blogging courses to whoever and whenever I want.

In the past I could set up an e-course and a learner could pay for and actively start receiving it immediately. It would not have to rely on me to start the process in motion, and physically be there every day to manually send them the next instalment.

Now my blogging courses will have to be delivered at set times. Learners will have a particular time and place to receive their live learning. The process of delivering bite-sized pieces of the course automatically at regular intervals will become a thing of the past.

Because I’m only human….

I may have got some of this wrong, or missed out details. If so, let me know in the comment boxes below – we all have a right to know.

The EU VAT men may make my life a misery, but I will not be beaten. I will rewrite my blogging courses to include as much human intervention as I can. In fact, this might not be a bad thing after all!

Keep a close eye out for my next course – details coming very soon. If you haven’t already done so, sign up to my community to be the first to know.

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Alice Elliott writes the award winning Fairy Blog Mother blog for beginner and post-beginner bloggers to “explain things really simply” about blogging and WordPress. She provides simple, easy to understand, highly visual courses and tutorials using ordinary, everyday words. Visit her new Beginner Bloggers blog to find her latest learning resources.
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  • daniele says:

    Hi Alice
    Thanks for this great post. I will probably do the same as you.

    I was googling info re this disgraceful VAT MESS and I found your great blog and your approach to the problem. I am an Italian garden designer based in Kent and I would like to create a video course in Italian on my subject for Italian readers only (or rather for Italian speakers only). I discovered this MESS only a few weeks ago and I wanted to just cry!!

    It is absurd. I wonder how you have coped?

    Btw, I have just found this guy , quite interesting…


    Kind regards

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