Steve Bullock @GuitarMoog Immigrant, Musician, Sound Engineer, SNP, ex-negotiator for UK in EU. Brother of @JuliaKayPotts. Supporter of @FinalSayForAll. On Holiday. Back soon. Jan. 28, 2019 2 min read

Small but important point on Brexit and VAT/TVA, and an example of how non-tarriff barriers to trade will harm businesses.

While doing my VAT return. this message popped up on the Belgian online VAT site: 1/

I'm self-employed, and don't really sell my services into the UK. I do however buy a lot of studio kit, musical instruments, and so on. I buy some from suppliers in Germany and Belgium, and some from suppliers in the UK, mainly @andertonsmusic and @guitarguitaruk. 2/

Why? They both have good service, sometimes the exchange rate makes it cheaper, and they both have very good sales with big discounts. There's much less of a discount culture in Belgium and Germany, so I pick up bargains in UK sales a few times a year to save money. 3/

At the moment, as I'm VAT registered in Belgium, these transactions are "Intra-Communal". I don't pay the VAT up-front, but declare it and reclaim it on the same regular VAT return. Like the rebate, the VAT never leaves my account. 4/

However, in the event of No Deal, or if there is no agreement on the future relationship by the end of transition, or if the agreement made doesn't include provision for the same VAT cooperation and UK access to EU databases as now (sound likely?). this stops. 5/

Now, I will still be able to buy things from these excellent UK suppliers. But, I'll pay the VAT up-front, and then try and claim it back from the UK tax authorities. 6/

Added to that, in the event of No Deal now or at the end of transition, anything I order will have to go through customs procedures and potentially need Belgian VAT paying on it. 7/

Why would I bother? I can just order as usual from @thomann in Germany, VAT-free, and make an entry that takes 2 minutes 4 times a year on my VAT forms. 8/

I think @andertonsmusic and @guitarguitaruk are brilliant, and I am a loyal customer. I honestly don't have time as a one-person business to spend the time jumping through the hoops, and I don't have the money to pay more than I could. 9/

So, voila, one loyal and happy repeat customer of great UK success-stories in their industries lost due to Brexit.

I'm a drop in the ocean. Now multiply this by every EU27 customer who has an EU27 alternative supplier in every industry.

How utterly pointless this all is. 10/10

You can follow @GuitarMoog.


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