Shopify EU VAT Exemption

Jeroen Krielaars
Jeroen Krielaars 69 Comments
159 SignaturesGoal: 1,000

Hi Fellow Shopifiers,

My name is Jeroen Krielaars, and I run a webshop called Animography. I am based in the Netherlands and sell digital downloads. Being a EU based Shopify merchant, I am terribly frustrated by the fact that Shopify does not support VAT exemption.

The problem in a nutshell:
If an EU based customer with a valid VAT number places an order in a different EU country, no VAT should be added to the sales price. Shopify does not support a way to automatically validate VAT numbers during the checkout process. This makes it impossible to exclude business-to-business costumers from VAT.

When this problem is adressed, this is Shopify's reaction:
Thanks so much for the valuable feedback. We will take note of this and discuss it with the technical staff. The solution we offer is that you validate the VAT numbers yourself, and make a refund of the VAT to those who are eligible.

They have been saying that to lots of EU based Shopify merchants for well over a year now.

What they really mean to say:
We acknowledge the problem, but we are mainly focussed on North American businesses and don't want to spend our valuable time on proper EU VAT handling.

The solution:
A field in the checkout process where costumers can fill in their VAT number. This will the be validated by a publicly accessible database. If the VAT number is a match with the database, no VAT will be added on top of the sales price. Simple as that. Please note that lots of other e-commerce platforms are already using this method. So Shopify does not have to invent the wheel here. It's simply a case of implementing something that already exists.

With a quick browse on the Shopify fora you'll notice a lot of people are utterly frustrated by this problem, and the way Shopify chooses to ignore it. It makes it almost impossible to run an e-commerce business. On the other hand, it is a lot of work to switch to another e-commerce platform, after setting up your business. And to be honest, Shopify does a really great job on all the other aspects of e-commerce. It's just this tiny, but super important aspect, that causes a big problem.

So, why this petition?
Up until now a lot of individuals have been complaining about it. All the 'valuable feedback' has led to nothing. Instead of putting in individual requests, let's unite! Maybe when we all join forces, we can apply enough pressure on the Shopify team to address this point of feedback.

Plan B.
If Shopify chooses to keep ignoring the issue, we can all chip in to hire a programmer to address the issue as a third party. The Shopify App Store is full of solutions that are not standard within the platform. I'm positive, the solution can be handled from the outside as well. With a big enough group we can crowdfund an app we can all benefit from.

Strength in numbers!
I know only a few merchants myself, so please help to share this petition. Let's rally up fellow merchants and even your frustrated costumers. Then maybe next time we can address a real problem, like starving puppy's and burned down rainforests. But for now, let's get get out damn EU VAT Exemption!!!

#ShopifyVATexemption

Shopify, you know we love you. But like Jerry Maguire says; 'Help me, help you!'

UPDATE!!!
I got contacted by Sufio, a third party app that supports the functionality of automatic VAT validation. They have a really useful VAT guide on for Shopify owners selling in the EU: http://sufio.com/articles/shopify/selling/vat-eu-c...

And here's how to implement it http://sufio.com/articles/shopify/selling/vat-eu-c...

If you'd like to give it a go, please consider using our referral link: http://sufio.com/shopify/invoice/eu/?ref=xocf67sd It would be very much appreciated.

In the meantime, we are still active to get this working as a standard feature in Shopify. So keep the signatures and comments going!

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