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Author Topic: Any Belgians around here? VAT problems with microstock?  (Read 5205 times)

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« on: March 05, 2008, 15:53 »
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In case there are any Belgians around, living in Belgium and earning extra money with microstock, I'd be SUPER greatful if you could mail me and tell me how you solved the tax and VAT problems.

My accountant tells me to send invoices to the European microstock sites (like StockXpert in Hungary) can you believe that? 

Photography is an "official side-job" for me (free translation of "zelfstandige-in-bijberoep").  Combine that with selling partially outside/inside the E.U. makes my situation pretty complicated (says my accountant). 

So if any of you can compare your version of the VAT-story to mine, I'll be eternally grateful!

THANKS A MILLION - SUPER BEDANKT BIJ VOORBAAT - MERCI MILLE FOIS  :D


« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2008, 12:07 »
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Yeah, i'm having the same sort of problems.

My accountant says i have to pay the 21% BTW, the "kunstenloket" just said i don't have to be pay since i'm basically selling authors rights, but then i would have to pay something in the countries where SS, DT and the likes reside. And to top it off i asked the tax bureau on two different occasions what I should do and both of the responses contradict eachother. Oh the fun  ;D

Anyway, I was planning to write a fully detailed report on how microstock works, what percentage i earn and then send it in to the nearest BTW loket and let them figure it out once and for all.

All in all.. it just gets me a headacht since noone seems to really know the deal.

En geen dank eh ;-)

« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2008, 12:46 »
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Don't forget that formally we are not selling anything. Agencies sell our pictures because we gave them the pictures and the right to sell them. What we are getting is a commission which is completely different (from a legal point of view) from "selling" something.

« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2008, 18:26 »
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Don't forget that formally we are not selling anything. Agencies sell our pictures because we gave them the pictures and the right to sell them. What we are getting is a commission which is completely different (from a legal point of view) from "selling" something.

In most countries its not about the selling , its about earning

« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2008, 20:29 »
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Don't forget that formally we are not selling anything. Agencies sell our pictures because we gave them the pictures and the right to sell them. What we are getting is a commission which is completely different (from a legal point of view) from "selling" something.

In most countries its not about the selling , its about earning

Aye, but the earnings should be taxed where they are generated. And this is the main problem as we don't sell the images to the microstock agencies, in which case we should pay taxes in the country where we created the images.
The agencies are the ones who sell them and then pay commissions to us so the earning is generated in the countries where the various agencies have their trade (Canada for IS, US for SS, Romania for DT, etc).
At least this is what I would logically think but I'd be curious to know how royalties are paid to musicians and writers because our case is very similar to their.

« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2008, 06:27 »
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Thanks Silverfox, I knew I couldn't be the only one in this situation!

As for the other posters : absolutely right, we're talking about earnings, but in this case, my question was about VAT, and not about income tax.

My accountant gave up discussing with me and asked for the advice of the "BTW-huis". 
If you like, I will send you their super-complicated answer by e-mail (just give me your mail address), as I am not going to translate the whole stuff into English.

However, the VAT-house is not the VAT-institution, so it is still possible that I am "caught" during my first VAT-control in a few years, just because they have another opinion.  So my accountant sent the VAT-house mail to the local VAT and asked them for a written confirmation.  I am not sure this will all be settled before the end of my first VAT-quarter end of this month!

The thing that makes it most complicated is :  most photographers (like me and probably you too) do more than microstock - they also sell prints/portraits, do weddings or product photography work in their home country.  In my case, that's only 5% of my photography earnings.  So the biggest question for me is :  can I recover/re-claim VAT for my professional purchases for 100% or only for 5%.

The funniest part of all is :  they want me to send invoices to the microstock companies  ;D
OK, OK, I will make these invoices, and file them, but I'm not going to make myself ridiculous and really SEND them!

« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2008, 06:57 »
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But if you make invoices you are probably putting VAT  on them.. but you should only be doing that if the stock sites are actually paying YOU VAT.

In Norway, we don't have VAT but something that is basically the same thing.  I only charge VAT to people who purchased thing from me in NORWAY.  If someone from Denmark purchases something from me there is not VAT on that item, he is supposed to pay VAT on that item when it enters Denmark.. (which the post office usually manages to get)

yeah... but anyhow I think it should be the microstock company which are charging and being concered with VAT.  We are just receiving a commission from our photos, not selling anything, so no VAT should be charged.

« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2008, 07:47 »
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I don't know about other countries, but in Belgium, there are different levels of VAT, and in this case (transactions outside EU) the invoice would charge zero % VAT.  So what they tell me to do is to make invoices for the amounts received, but without VAT.  I suppose it has to do with the obligation to have an invoice filed for every part of your income, even if VAT is not applicable  ???

« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2008, 07:55 »
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Aye, but the earnings should be taxed where they are generated.
No it's not correct. I am not sure about company profits, but for individual person the income taxes are paid in the country of main residence. I think it's quite the same for the companies with the place if their registration.

Sale tax is paid in the place where sale is made, but not the income tax. To make it more complex, VAT is paid in the country where buyer located. In real life when I buy something via internet some sellers charge me Belgian VAT but most don't (even within EU).

So in our case we give (for free!) the right to the agency to sell our pictures. And we supply them (for free!) our pictures. So why shell we charge VAT to the agencies if we don't sell anything at all?

« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2008, 08:01 »
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Well, i would really, really be interested in that mail from the BTW house. You can allways send it to [email protected]. Thanks!

Oh and the sad part is..  since i didn't really know what to do with the VAT and my accountant and some other people suggested to pay.. i went ahead and paid them .. so if we don't have to pay VAT for microstock in Belgium, then i'm just hoping i could get it back (it's quite a bit of money)

One more thing, i have a relative working with the VAT department and he promised me to find out how it works, but still haven't heard back from him. Maybe he's having a hard timing figuring it out as well  ;D

« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2008, 08:03 »
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Anyka,

They told you exactly what you need to do. Almost every country in Europe has the same VAT law accept the % are different. So you need to make invoice for every transaction without adding VAT.  Levels of % of VAT don't have influence when you making invoice outside of EU.
In my country I need to put at the end of the invoice number of the law witch explains when to use VAT and when not to.
In most countries you don't need to put that number.

And don't forget every moneybookers transaction can be viewed by SWIFT number and name by your government. Also every credit card transaction can be also viewed by them. So you need to make invoice even you don't have to send invoice to the non EU agency. That is why you have to make every invoice on time.

Dario

« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2008, 03:02 »
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You're right dbajurin, they did tell me to put the reason for not charging VAT at the bottom of the invoice, something like "VAT not applicable due to VAT code number XXX".

I would only feel MUCH more comfortable if the VAT-institution would give me a written confirmation about what rules apply to me (not just whether I should CHARGE VAT to my customers, but also - very important - whether I can reclaim VAT for professional purchases).
Keeping my fingers crossed ...

« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2008, 10:10 »
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But if you make invoices you are probably putting VAT  on them.. but you should only be doing that if the stock sites are actually paying YOU VAT.

In Norway, we don't have VAT but something that is basically the same thing.  I only charge VAT to people who purchased thing from me in NORWAY.  If someone from Denmark purchases something from me there is not VAT on that item, he is supposed to pay VAT on that item when it enters Denmark.. (which the post office usually manages to get)

yeah... but anyhow I think it should be the microstock company which are charging and being concered with VAT.  We are just receiving a commission from our photos, not selling anything, so no VAT should be charged.

Exactly.

Im a freelance in Spain and it works like this:
I make an invoice for the work and VAT (other name here) is added to the total amount (+16%).
Then I pay that 16% VAT

« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2008, 04:14 »
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Good news for all Belgian microstockers (and macrostockers) :  today, after almost six months delay, the Belgian VAT gave me their official decision about my VAT status :

1. for Belgian sales, ordinary VAT rules apply to me (of course)
2. for stockphotography ABROAD, I do NOT pay VAT
3. for ALL purchases (100% of all purchases that are photography related), I can recover VAT.

That's excellent news, well worth waiting for.
Anyka


 

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