Thanks for keeping on bumping this, Angus. I saw your post back in the summer and there wasn't much information round then. There isn't much more now, but what there is would be pretty alarming for many people - if they knew even about it!
Clearly this isn't very well thought through legislation, but I think that's probably as much as anything because the people framing it have very little clue about everyday life and are more interested in tax harmonisation. As ever, the people who are likely to be worst hit are precisely those people whose interests are most poorly represented in government - the poor, the self-employed, people working more than one job to make ends meet...
I could rant for ages about the details, but this blog post is quite helpful in clarifying things as they stand currently:
http://rachelandrew.co.uk/archives/2014 ... t-changes/
One of the reasons so much of the material about this rule change relates to the UK is that the VAT registration threshold is so much higher here - and the VAT system is very much geared towards working with businesses, not individuals. With a different hat on, I have a VAT-registered business myself, and it's certainly much easier to deal with than it used to be, but anyone without this experience - perhaps just selling an ebook from their kitchen table for a couple of hundred euros a year - will find the prospect intimidating and the extra time and effort involved impractical.
What I really want to know is:
* How am I to fulfill the regulatory requirement to verify (without making a purchase needlessly burdensome) a purchaser's place of domicile? I think the requirements are really rather onerous for a sole trader or micro business. This - and the rather variable/open-ended penalties involved - is the biggest problem of all.
* Which intermediaries will be compliant? Specifically, what about Bandcamp? It doesn't look very promising. I'm thinking purely about music download sales here, though there might be some interesting workarounds...
If the aim was to punish excessive "tax-efficiency" (ahem) in some large online businesses, then the result will be the opposite - pushing small independent businesses into the arms of resellers, payment platforms and large marketplaces that will tie them in and raise the cost of doing business. Either that, or people will stop trading altogether.
I may VAT register. I may (reluctantly) find an intermediary (if a suitable one exists). I may shut up shop. None of these options appeal very much. In the meantime I have a short amount of time to make a decision and not enough proper information to go on.