Petition update

TWITTERSTORMS: Monday 23 February 9-10am GMT & 5-6pm GMT

EU VAT Action Team

Feb 22, 2015 — Join in a highly focused double Twitterstorm on Monday 23 February to help the campaign take some massive strides forward! And if you’re not on Twitter, you can still join in. This is a two-parter:

Morning: 9-10am is #AskAnsip: we’ll be tweeting to Andrus Ansip, European Commission Vice President for the Digital Single Market, an event that he’s set up for the #DigitalSingleMarket. Details below!

Evening: 5-6pm is an EU-wide email-and-boast: every member state has a dedicated email address for #EUVAT issues. Email them with your issues, boast when you’ve done it, and tell every single freelancer friend and small business you can to do the same. We need the whole EU to be speaking out! All the details you need below.

There are also images on the website update about this which you can share on any social media, to get your friends joining in.

9-10am GMT: #AskAnsip
Andrus Ansip wants your views on the digital single market and he’s arranged this twitter chat: ‘As VP Ansip says “building a connected Digital Single Market is something we aim to get right.” And for that he wants to know what challenges the strategy should address. This means that apart from tweeting questions you can also share suggestions and your own stories‘. Hurrah! Let’s meet the man!

Name: Andrus Ansip
Age: 58
Job: European Commission Vice President for the Digital Single Market
Background: Studied chemistry and worked as an engineer, moved into banking & politics, went from mayor to Minister of Economic Affairs & Communications, and was Prime Minister of Estonia for a whopping 9 years.
Likes: The digital single market! He gave this speech about it in December.
Dislikes: Geoblocking! Especially when he can’t watch his favourite football matches. He hates it and he wants to abolish it.
WLTM: Digital businesses across the EU who’re keen to sell across borders
Twitter: @Ansip_EU

What to tell Ansip:

How #EUVAT is stopping your business being part of the Digital Single Market – whether you’re closing, struggling to stay afloat, having to block countries, cancelling a launch, whatever the situation
How #EUVAT is causing geoblocking: he’s specifically asked for screenshots of websites that block you. (On a PC, press Alt-PrtSc to save your screen as a picture. On a Mac, press Press Command (⌘)-Shift-3.)
What help we want from Ansip:

We want Ansip to help make the case to Donato Raponi (Head of VAT at the EU Commission) and Pierre Moscovici (Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs).

They need to understand that the cost of compliance for EU VAT is disproportionate and unreasonable, and that compliance isn’t even possible for many businesses.

This means we need a microbusiness threshold, below which each country’s domestic VAT rules apply. NB: This isn’t a single VAT threshold across the EU. It’s a threshold specifically and only for this law, and if you make below that threshold, you continue to follow your own country’s domestic VAT rules.

That’s from 9-10am GMT (UK time), which is 10-11am CET (Central European Time). You can also join Ansip’s event on Facebook. And please: no trolling, flaming, or abuse. Ansip wants to hear from us and we want this to be constructive!

Not on Twitter? You can still join in: talk to Ansip on Facebook.

Then take a well-deserved break and come back at…

5-6pm GMT: #EUVAT email-and-boast
We need the whole EU to be speaking out about EU VAT – which means everyone needs to know about it and tell their governments. The only way to change an EU law is with all the member states, so let’s get everyone moving on this! So this is your three-step challenge, from 5-6pm:

Write to your country’s EU VAT contact email address (see the list below)
boast that you’ve done it on Twitter, hashtag #EUVAT and add @euvataction, so we can boost the signal.

Tell everyone in the EU about this in as many languages as possible and challenge them to write to their contact, too.

Step 1: What to say in your email to your country’s EU VAT contact

You can write this email beforehand, or surf the Twitter energy on the day! Grab your country’s contact email address from the list at the bottom of the post.

Explain how #EUVAT is hurting your business. The more hard data and detail you can give, the better.

Explain why third-party platforms and tech solutions aren’t the answer. (This is what other businesses are saying about third-party platforms. For tech solutions, issues include the massive cost of set-up, the cost of using them, how complex they are to use, whether they just pass all the difficult cases back to you, sales being blocked if data doesn’t match, and the bandwidth your server needs to crunch the data – and that’s all assuming the tech solution is actually fully compliant. So far, we can’t find any which are.)

Tell them that we need a microbusiness threshold, below which each country’s domestic VAT rules apply. (Make it clear this isn’t a single VAT threshold across the EU. It’s a threshold solely for this law, and if you make below that threshold, you still follow your own country’s existing domestic VAT rules.)

Step 2: Boast!

Declare your accomplishment on Twitter! You just made a real difference so feel proud and say so! Hashtag #EUVAT, and add @euvataction, so we can boost the signal and encourage even more people to write. There’s a picture you can add at the bottom of this post.

Step 3: Tell your friends, challenge your friends, help your friends

Tell everyone on Twitter that you can think of. Even if they aren’t a digital freelancer or a microbiz, they probably know someone who is!

Direct-tweet everyone who may be affected and all your field’s organisations, groups, and big accounts whose followers will be affected. Use every language you know!

Google-translate your tweets!

Challenge your friends to write to their EU VAT contact. Give them the email address for their country, from the list below. There’s an image at the bottom of the post you can use.

Help the people who’ve just found out. Remember how you felt when you discovered this? If it’s news to them, that’s probably how they’ll feel. Denial, anger, depression, grief, confusion… Give them a helping hand and reassure them that together we can fix this.

We also have very detailed FAQs on the EU VAT Action website now, to help answer people’s questions. Each one has a “link here” option next to it, so you can link people directly to specific answers. They can also join the EU VAT Action Campaign group on Facebook, plus we have a French-speaking group and a Dutch-speaking group.

Not on Twitter? You can still join in: email your country’s contact then share it on Facebook, tag your friends, give them the email for their country’s contact, and post to groups you belong to.

EU VAT contact email addresses for each country:

Austria: Mr Ernst Radlwimmer,
Belgium: General administration of Taxes,
Bulgaria: National Revenue Agency,
Croatia: Ms Ines Tomic, Senior VAT advisor in the Tax Administration, Head Office,
Cyprus: Mrs Martha Argyrou, VAT Officer,
Czech Republic: No name given,
Denmark: Mr Bent Lauridsen,
Estonia: Ms Kaia Maltsaar, Chief Specialist of the Tax Department of the Estonian Tax and Customs Board,
Finland: M. Martin Klam, Chef du bureau D1 – TVA,
Germany: No name given, Contact form, https, //
Greece: Antonia Stathi, Head of Section E,
Hungary: No name given,
Ireland: Dermot Donegan,
Italy: No name given,
Latvia: No name given,
Lithuania: Ms Andra Cerneviciute,
tel: 00370 5 266 8228: Luxembourg,
Malta: No information received
The Netherlands: Mr A.J. Blank,
Poland: Mr Marcin Chrostowski,
Portugal: Ms Olivia Mauricio,
Romania: No information received
Slovakia: Mr Libor Puhalla,
Slovenia: Ms Mija Thaler,
Spain: Legal transposition, Begoña Hernando Polo,
Sweden: No name given,
United Kingdom: No name given,

We’re really excited about this: if we can get Ansip’s support and get everyone in the EU talking about this, Monday could be a real game-changer for the campaign! Let’s make it happen.

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