VATMOSS and crowdfunding - HELP?

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Aviala
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VATMOSS and crowdfunding - HELP?

#1 Post by Aviala » Thu Dec 01, 2016 5:47 pm

Okay. So.

VATMOSS is this shitty thing that makes indie creators all over Europe miserable. It basically requires indies to collect information about the people they sell games (or other digital media) to, and submit it to a tax system that seems horribly complicated and way too work-heavy for indies to keep up with. This can be avoided by using marketplaces like Steam and Itch.io, which handle the VAT taxes for you.

However, crowdfunding sites aren't marketplaces. They don't handle the VAT taxes for creators (at least not according to my most recent info). So my question is:

How do indie devs in Europe do crowdfunding campaigns!?

I've been trying to figure this out for months, I've asked around from tax professionals, facebook, forums... I've tried googling, but nothing relevant comes up. The FAQ's of crowdfunding platforms aren't helpful. I did get info that VAT IS applicable to crowdfunding profit. How do indie devs avoid having to collect info from each backer individually and then submitting it to the system one-by-one? That seems like a task that'd need it's own person. Or do European devs just suffer and do it all, manually?

I'm getting desperate, someone please help me :'D

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Re: VATMOSS and crowdfunding - HELP?

#2 Post by firecat » Thu Dec 01, 2016 7:00 pm

https://webdevlaw.uk/2016/01/10/eu-vat-crowdfunding/

this is the only best answer from the very same people who made it
http://www.tax-news.com/news/EU_States_ ... 69706.html

and this is the best answer i can find:
https://www.gov.uk/hmrc-internal-manual ... vatfin5550

TL;DR we dont even know ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ its been years and we haven't found an answer. it falls into a law within its own law.
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Re: VATMOSS and crowdfunding - HELP?

#3 Post by Aviala » Fri Dec 02, 2016 6:21 am

Thanks for the answer, but I was maybe looking for people who actually had experience on the subject (for example someone who has done an European crowdfunding campaign or knows someone who has). The links you sent are good info, but I know that a lot of Europeans (and even people from my country, Finland) have done crowdfunding campaigns and haven't been charged with tax fraud. So there HAS to be some kind of way of doing it... And I find it hard to believe all these campaigns would be collecting info from their backers "manually" to comply with VAT regulations.

EDIT: I found one way of doing things: A software/service named Backerkit. I was going through some European Indiegogo pages and saw it mentioned. It costs something to use (they don't explicitly tell how much exactly, but it does include a 300USD starting fee), but it seems like it would be the answer to automating the information collection and email surveys etc.

If anyone has any better (free) ideas, they'd be very welcome!

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Re: VATMOSS and crowdfunding - HELP?

#4 Post by firecat » Fri Dec 02, 2016 10:19 am

you need to look at this:

"One of the main things that made me not to go for it, despite having weeks of work invested, was the “credits” system they use. Your backers funds are turned in to credits which they can then use to “buy” the perks you setup in Backerkit. Backers can buy more credits to use on upgrades that you offer if they wish. I just felt like that whole story would totally confuse my backers and end up in a ton of new questions I would have to answer. So in combination with the less than great user experience. I decided to back off."

http://www.crowdgeek.co/2016/10/13/backerkit-review-2/

so this guy is telling us that the money backers spend which are real currency, becomes something like steam credits where you have 2 hours left or else no one can ask for refund. They were covering up the subject but i found out what happens:

http://help.backerkit.com/article/368-issuing-refunds

so you are responsible for any refunds, which kinda defeats the purpose of Backerkit. I highly recommend reading through this before making any deals, some stuff i read makes Backerkit a website for only getting backer information:

http://help.backerkit.com/collection/28 ... t-features

oh and i found this on my search: https://www.pledgemanager.com/
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Re: VATMOSS and crowdfunding - HELP?

#5 Post by Aviala » Fri Dec 02, 2016 11:27 am

Even if there are some problems with the software, it doesn't change the fact that it's the ONLY thing I've found that might be even remotely helpful in collecting info for VATMOSS without individually sending emails to people, trying to confirm VATMOSS info... And then going through hundreds on replies manually to make a spreadsheet with all the VATMOSS info.

My problem was never with fulfilling backer rewards, it's about managing a lot of information about the backers easily. I'm not 100% sure how to use Backerkit yet, but I assume the software can deliver me the VATMOSS info in some sort of a useful condensed form - that's what it seems to be promising. I'm going to contact them first and make sure the software can do what I want if I do decide to use their services.

Of course, if anyone has a better way to handle all the info easily, then please, do tell me.

EDIT: Whoops, my ADD seems to be acting up again, I missed the pledge manager link. I'll look into it too.

EDIT2: Pledge manager has NO info about what their services do. There's a lot of promises, but no concrete list of features - I don't even know what it does exactly. Backerkit at least tells me what it does :'D What makes you think Pledge Manager would be better than Backerkit?

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Re: VATMOSS and crowdfunding - HELP?

#6 Post by firecat » Fri Dec 02, 2016 4:00 pm

After some time looking and reading i think i found the perfect management: https://crowdox.com
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Re: VATMOSS and crowdfunding - HELP?

#7 Post by Aviala » Fri Dec 02, 2016 4:43 pm

I think I'm gonna decide for myself which service I decide to use and what suits me best. : ) Thanks for the links tho, it's always good to have options.

If anyone else has any input on which service is the best or any (European) crowdfunding experiences to share, those would be super helpful!

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Re: VATMOSS and crowdfunding - HELP?

#8 Post by Reikun » Fri Dec 02, 2016 6:30 pm

Helia (Traumendes Madchen) is based in France and recently successfully completed a crowdfunding campaign so you may want to get in touch with her. Good luck with everything!
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Re: VATMOSS and crowdfunding - HELP?

#9 Post by Aviala » Sat Dec 03, 2016 7:51 am

All right, thanks for the tip, I'll send her a message!

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Re: VATMOSS and crowdfunding - HELP?

#10 Post by Aviala » Tue Dec 06, 2016 6:24 pm

Update on the issue:

I still haven't found a great answer to my problem, but at least I know Indiegogo won't be offering any help (very disappointed about that btw). Apparently creators are just left to deal with their own tax issues - I contacted the customer support but received no help at all. They did reply me, but they just basically said "deal with it yourself".

I contacted Traumendes Madchen and they were super nice and gave me a long answer, but were unfortunately unable to help with my specific situation.

I swear, if I find a way to do this legit, I'll do a tutorial on it. This is something no-one should have to go through OTL It has taken me hours and hours of work to figure out the tax laws and I'm still not sure how everything works. Still waiting for a reply from Backerkit's customer service. If they don't answer me before January, I might have to call them and ask some questions...

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Re: VATMOSS and crowdfunding - HELP?

#11 Post by Albridge » Tue Dec 06, 2016 6:59 pm

In the United States, funds earned by crowdfunding are cumulatively taxed as one income entity.
I'd advise you to examine if crowdfunding qualifies as 'selling' in the first place because I strongly doubt it does.
If it does indeed fall into that category, now might be a good time to set up a google form (a very useful alternative to backerkit) and impose penalties on backers who do not complete it.

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Re: VATMOSS and crowdfunding - HELP?

#12 Post by Aviala » Tue Dec 06, 2016 7:15 pm

Albridge wrote:In the United States, funds earned by crowdfunding are cumulatively taxed as one income entity.
I'd advise you to examine if crowdfunding qualifies as 'selling' in the first place because I strongly doubt it does.
If it does indeed fall into that category, now might be a good time to set up a google form (a very useful alternative to backerkit) and impose penalties on backers who do not complete it.
It qualifies as presales, I'm sure of it since I've asked tax professionals and read about it extensively. I'll take a look at google forms and see if it's something I could use for this - thanks!

I also sent a message asking for help from a Finnish company who did a tabletop RPG crowdfunding campaign - they used backerkit so they should know if it's useful, now I'll just need to hope that they answer me.

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Re: VATMOSS and crowdfunding - HELP?

#13 Post by Spiky Caterpillar » Mon Dec 12, 2016 5:52 am

Moi.

Your crowdfunding provider should probably be able to give you a breakdown of income by country; if all VATMOSS requires is that you feed it the total amounts from each country, that may be enough. (One potential pitfall if you're working from a country-by-country breakdown - make sure you know whether it's broken up by shipping address or billing address and which one the VATMOSS system actually wants.)

If they give backer info to you in some form of spreadsheet format it should also be possible to extract the correct data for VATMOSS automatically using openoffice or a perl/python script, depending on format and what you're more comfortable with.
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Re: VATMOSS and crowdfunding - HELP?

#14 Post by Spiky Caterpillar » Mon Dec 12, 2016 5:58 am

And https://support.indiegogo.com/hc/en-us/ ... formation- says they do provide backer info as a CSV file.
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Re: VATMOSS and crowdfunding - HELP?

#15 Post by Aviala » Fri Dec 16, 2016 10:59 am

Oh, what the heck? :O I tried looking for something like that but couldn't, and their customer service said they couldn't help me. It's still a bit unclear if that information is enough for VATMOSS though... Since it doesn't include the IP address of the backer or anything. I should probably ask an accountant or something.

That info will probably prove to be useful though, because it means I won't have to ask the billing address with a separate form or something.

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