It's time to vote for your favourite story and author in this year's clitoridesawards. [ X Dismiss ]
Home « Forum « Author Hangout

Forum: Author Hangout

VAT confusion

Switch Blayde

I'm a dumb American when it comes to the EU VATs so this confused me. It's a reduced VAT rate of 5.5% for France. I don't think I ever sold a book in France, but I'd still like to understand what this means. I'm quoting part of what's covered under the reduced 5.5% rate.

…books (excluding those with pornographic or violent content); e-books; …


I'm assuming "books" is printed books whereas "e-books" is digital books. The question is about what's in parentheses after "books."

If a book has violent content or is considered pornographic, is only printed books excluded from the discounted VAT? Can I have an e-book with violence and sex and still get the reduced rate?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ernest Bywater

Switch, if you give me the entire section or the URL to it I can read it and give you my best interpretation of it. I used to work in areas where I had to interpret various laws for people.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Hero68

According to this, books and e-books have a tax of 20% if they are deemed violent and/or pornographic (the article doesn't distinguish between printed and electronic, because they are treated equally under french tax law (l'article 278-0 bis du Code général des impôts); you can search for livre numérique (e-book) and tva or taxe sur la valeur ajoutée (VAT) and use Google Translator).

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Hero68

According to this,


Yep

it is subject to the reduced rate of VAT fixed at 5.5% (or 2.1% in Corsica, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Reunion), except for publications which, because of their pornographic or violent nature, are prohibited from sale to minors, exposure to public view or advertising, and remain taxed at the full rate of 20%.


I wonder how they would know to tax it at 20%?

I added 5.5% to the price in euros (not 20%). But, as I said, I don't remember selling a book in France.

Switch Blayde

@Ernest Bywater

Switch, if you give me the entire section or the URL to it I can read it


The URL is: https://www.vatlive.com/country-guides/europe/france/french-vat-rates/

The full section is:

Some foodstuffs; water supplies, medical equipment for disabled persons; books (excluding those with pornographic or violent content); e-books; admission to certain cultural events; writers and composers; some social housing; admission to sports events; some domestic care services; cut flowers and plants for food production.

Ernest Bywater

The section:

Some foodstuffs; water supplies, medical equipment for disabled persons; books (excluding those with pornographic or violent content); e-books; admission to certain cultural events; writers and composers; some social housing; admission to sports events; some domestic care services; cut flowers and plants for food production.

is a list of applicable items. Although this is a summary, a lot will depend on the exact wording of the actual regulation. In this list the content aspects apply solely to the books and not the e-books because the e-books are a separate item on the list, as shown by the semi-colon. However, if the summary doesn't properly represent the regulation it may apply to all books, including e-books.

However, the exceptions are worded so they would only apply to books with very graphic sexual activity descriptions and the depiction of very violent scenes. A detailed sex scene would be an exception, so would a detailed scene where you list all of the blood and gore as it flies. However, I expect a non-graphic description wouldn't trigger the exception.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Ernest Bywater

would only apply to books with very graphic sexual activity descriptions and the depiction of very violent scenes.


My latest novel (waiting for Amazon to complete it's review) has both. There's graphic sex, but also violence. For example, a bullet goes through someone's forehead splattering blood and brains on the wall. A woman attacks one of the bad guys, clawing at his face, leaving gashes with hanging skin. But no chopping up of people.

Yeah, the way it was worded indicated it was print books only, but the site @Hero68 referenced didn't differentiate. It was more what could be sold to a minor.

Which brings up another issue. I didn't check the age of "minimum age 18+". I wonder if I needed to do that.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Switch Blayde


also violence. For example, a bullet goes through someone's forehead splattering blood and brains on the wall.


if there's graphic sex, yes it needs to be 18+

as to the violence, if you say '... the bullet hit his forehead and burst out the back spraying his brains over the wall ...' I'd not say graphic violence. but if you say '... the bullet hit him in the forehead and both eyes popped out from the pressure to hang down by their optic nerves to hit his cheeks, and the back of his head split open to have a sections of his brain splattering over the wall behind him in such a way a glob of brain matter hit the landscape painting and smeared itself into the paint while some of the blood droplets created small red clouds in the paint of the painting ...' then, yes, that's graphic violence.

edit to finish, hit wrong button

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Ernest Bywater

if there's graphic sex, yes it needs to be 18+


Amazon won't let me change it yet. I guess it needs to pass their review first.

sejintenej

Hero68 precied that part of the regulations but there is more!
For sales to Corsica, Gaudeloupe, Martinique and la Reunion then VAT is only 2.1%. A bookseller is allowed to reduce the price by no more than 5% but this does not apply to online and telephone sales unless the buyer physically collects! The invoice must show the price and details of the editeur (?publisher) for online type sales and these must be on the books (printed or sticky) if sold from a shop

Violence, porn; I haven't found the definition yet

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

Switch, I spent a lot of time with VAT. I also vary my VAT rates with each book release. If you're NOT comfortable with VAT, SW is your best option. Since you're required to sign-in in order to pay, they add the taxes to your sales prices, while Amazon charges YOU the entire VAT prices, reducing what you earn.

The VAT applies to electronic AND print books, there might be some differences, but I've never noted which were which.

When I vary the VATs (on Amazon), I have Amazon do the auto conversion, then see how much the difference is. If necessary, I just up the price to that country by an extra .99 increment to make up some of my losses—between rounding up to .99 and adding the extra dollar, you generally recoup most of it&mash;though upping the price likely slightly decreases sales to that country).

You can also elect to NOT sell to various countries (I've never EVER sold a book to Japan), but the list of individual countries is MASSIVE, and not easy to parse if you don't have an extensive list of English speaking countries (i.e. which countries of large English competent speakers). I gave up on that mission a LONG time ago. It just isn't worth the effort.

As for as the "excluding" comment, Amazon (and the others with similar terminology) don't review submissions at all, but if they receive a SINGLE complaint by any readers, even if it's from a competitor, they'll yank it with NO review process whatsoever. It's a minefield of Amazon's own creation. The other sites at least allow you to appeal their decision.

On the other hand, I've NEVER had a single book rejected, despite having several dealing with incest, which IS a clear violation. Again, if your readers don't complain, you have nothing to worry about. That's why I prefer to start slow, building up to the eventual reveal, so readers can anticipate it and quit before they encounter the 'objectionable' part.

As for what's included after the ellipsis, I'd need to know precisely who you're referring to. Chances are, it refers to things like audio books, mixed-media books or other 'alternative' ebooks.

@Hero68

I've NEVER been charged an extra tax for a single one of my books, so they'd need to be MUCH more violent and pornographic than the many traditionally published books which routinely get away with it.

@Switch

I wonder how they would know to tax it at 20%?

You generally opt to label your own book as "child friendly" or not. Again, I've never been fined that fee, so I assume it's only triggered if the distributor (Amazon, lulu, SW or D2D) files an official complaint, something I've never heard of before.

Then again, I've only sold a couple of books to France, as they're NOT a major English reading country, assuming most books they're interesting in will eventually be translated in French.

@Switch again:

My latest novel (waiting for Amazon to complete it's review) has both. There's graphic sex, but also violence. For example, a bullet goes through someone's forehead splattering blood and brains on the wall. A woman attacks one of the bad guys, clawing at his face, leaving gashes with hanging skin. But no chopping up of people.

Yeah, the way it was worded indicated it was print books only, but the site @Hero68 referenced didn't differentiate. It was more what could be sold to a minor.

Which brings up another issue. I didn't check the age of "minimum age 18+". I wonder if I needed to do that.

If it's too sexy or too violent, AND anyone complains, AND/OR they charge the extra tax or even yank your books, you just make the necessary changes and resubmit it. I'm not sure how that will change the tax, but if you resubmit it under a different ISBN, I'm sure it would restart the entire process from scratch, even if it has the same title, but never having encountered this, I don't know for sure (although I've know someone who had their books banned for underaged sex).

ALL the book distributors have similar restrictions about underaged sex (nothing under 18), though it's rarely enforced. Your best bet is to NEVER mention age, and NEVER highlight how 'youthful', 'innocent' and 'childlike' they are. AS Lazeez classically states: 'If it sounds like it's a child, legally it IS a child, however you dress it up.'

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

while Amazon charges YOU the entire VAT prices, reducing what you earn.


When I published my first novel, Amazon did the currency conversion AND added the appropriate VAT. But then the EU changed their rules and said the VAT would be that of the country where the buyer was. Amazon did a one-time conversion on my first novel, but after that the author was on their own.

The price of the book in the EU countries assumes it includes the VAT for that country. If the author doesn't add the VAT to his price he eats it. So for the UK market, I added 20% and played with the number so it looked ok. For Germany, 19%. For France, 5.5%.

ALL the book distributors have similar restrictions about underaged sex (nothing under 18),


There is no underage sex in my novels. Nothing illegal. By age, I was talking about the people who buy the book.

On the other hand, I've NEVER had a single book rejected,


Actually, my newest book is being held up because of the keywords. Amazon didn't tell me what exactly was wrong about them. But in one of them I referenced Jack Reacher and Dirty Harry. I think that's a no-no so I took it out and resubmitted.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

When I published my first novel, Amazon did the currency conversion AND added the appropriate VAT. But then the EU changed their rules and said the VAT would be that of the country where the buyer was. Amazon did a one-time conversion on my first novel, but after that the author was on their own.

The price of the book in the EU countries assumes it includes the VAT for that country. If the author doesn't add the VAT to his price he eats it. So for the UK market, I added 20% and played with the number so it looked ok. For Germany, 19%. For France, 5.5%.

That's understood, but you also need to realize that they're doing that so that Amazon doesn't need to figure out WHO to pay taxes to (i.e. they're shoving the price of the taxes onto the authors, simply so they can offer 'one button purchases').

Since SW requires you to sign in BEFORE you can buy a book, they add the tax onto your purchase price BEFORE you make the actual purchase.

You took the right approach, adjusting your sales price for each book.

There is no underage sex in my novels. Nothing illegal. By age, I was talking about the people who buy the book.

That's good, as it won't identify your title as an "Adult book", but if anyone files a complaint, you'll have to resubmit it again with corrections (not a big deal). Be careful how you promote the book, though, just so some young kid doesn't convince their mother to buy it for them, but I don't think that's a big concern with your title in question.

Actually, my newest book is being held up because of the keywords. Amazon didn't tell me what exactly was wrong about them. But in one of them I referenced Jack Reacher and Dirty Harry. I think that's a no-no so I took it out and resubmitted.

Send me your keyword list. I've done a lot of work on keywords, so I should be able to make some sense of what's what, but yeah, keywords are what readers search, but you can't use other author or character names as search links into YOUR books.

sejintenej

@Crumbly Writer

Then again, I've only sold a couple of books to France, .

Ahaa, but to which part of France? Those areas I mentioned are parts of France itself and not colonies or administered territories so France has three different VAT rates on books etc. It is a bit like New York State having one sales tax rate but different rates for sales in the Bronx and Manhattan

I know it is crazy! Even worse that part of France in the Saint Lawrence Seaway (St Pierre et Miquelon) has a 5% tax rate like Paris

helmut_meukel

@Switch Blayde

For Germany, 19%.

FYI, for printed books it's the reduced VAT rate: 7%.

But there is a quirk. If I, a German, buy some thing in the USA and it's sent to me by UPS, DHL ... I, not the seller, have to pay the Einfuhrumsatzsteuer – it's VAT, just another name. All sources I found always speak about objects physically brought to me, not about electronic copies of data, e.g. programs, ebooks, music or videos.

HM.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@helmut_meukel

For Germany, 19%.
FYI, for printed books it's the reduced VAT rate: 7%.


It's an ebook so I guess it's 19%

Replies:   helmut_meukel
helmut_meukel

@Switch Blayde

It's an ebook so I guess it's 19%


Correct.
But how is it payed?

If both – seller and buyer - reside in the EU, the seller has to include the VAT in the price and pay the VAT to the tax authorities. The EU countries insisted on getting the tax rates applicable to the buyers, forcing the seller to add different tax rates to their price and pay over to twenty-something tax authorities! This was stopped by the courts. They ruled in all cases without exception the tax rates of the seller are to apply and the seller has to pay the VAT to his tax authorities. (It's more complex if the seller has branch offices in different EU countries.)

If the seller resides outside of the EU it's not "VAT" but "Einfuhrumsatzsteuer" – import turnover tax – and the buyer has to pay to the tax authorities.
The buyer has to add price, foreign sales taxes, transport and packing fees, and customs duty to get the taxable value. If the taxable value is higher than 22 € then his local VAT rate is used. (no tax below 22 € value). This all is usually done by Customs.

In your case it depends on who is the seller.
If the reader buys from your own web shop or from a distributor without an EU residence, you can ignore the EU VAT, make your price without it. The buyer has to pay the VAT. It would be nice to tell your customer about his duty.

In the digital world the tax authorities don't know about purchases made by private citizens because no physical object is transported across the border, the ebooks etc. are downloaded. Therefore many customers simply ignore the tax.

AFAIK, Amazon is treated as an EU resident even if the reader orders from Amazon USA.

HM.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@helmut_meukel

But how is it payed?


It's paid by Amazon — taken out of the price of the book.

From what I understand, Amazon in Europe used to pay the Luxembourg VAT rate for all EU countries. Then the EU changed the rules and said the VAT would be based on where the buyer lived.

The price of the book is inclusive of the VAT. It's not added on at the time of purchase like the U.S. sales tax is. So Amazon deducts the VAT from the price of the novel and pays whomever. So if the price of the book isn't upped by the VAT, the author ends up paying it.

Replies:   helmut_meukel
helmut_meukel

@Switch Blayde

From what I understand, Amazon in Europe used to pay the Luxembourg VAT rate for all EU countries. Then the EU changed the rules and said the VAT would be based on where the buyer lived.

Yes and no.
Amazon has companies in many european countries. Amazon Germany had to pay the German VAT rate, Amazon France the French VAT rate, Amazon UK the British VAT rate...
Then they tried to bend the rules. To apply the lower Luxembourg VAT rate to all purchases in the EU they informed their customers and the tax authorities that while their web sites were maintained by the local branches, the contract of sale is between Amazon Luxembourg and the customer.
This worked for a while. However other european companies threatened to change their business model accordingly, finally the political pressure was high enough to specify the rules.
Now they have to pay the German VAT rate for purchases by German customers,...
For the few small EU countries without an Amazon branch office they can still use the VAT rate of the country where the selling is actually done.

BTW, if a company is actually based in Luxembourg with no branches in other european countries, the Luxembourg VAT rate is applied to all sellings regardless where the buyer lives.

HM.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play
Updated:

@helmut_meukel

applied to all sellings

FYI, 'sales' rather than 'sellings'.

The present participles of verbs, their -ing form, are most commonly used as adjectives.
Sometimes, and my guess is most of the time, those adjectives then become nouns too, for example, 'a shooting'.
In this case it does not.
I'm pretty sure the reason is another word - derived from the same root word - already exists as the noun for that meaning.
Sorry, but I don't think there's any logical way of knowing when that is so.

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Ross at Play

Sorry, but I don't think there's any logical way of knowing when that is so.

A very knowledgeable explanation.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play
Updated:

@robberhands

A very knowledgeable explanation.

"Thanks," he said, pretending to not notice the hint of sarcasm.

I try to be sensitive to the understandable difficulties both you and Helmut face using English as a second language. It is full of exceptions to general rules, like this one, often simply because some archaic form of word has survived through to the modern language.

I do respect the usual quality of English from both of you; more than that, I respect your efforts to write quality English. :-)

I try to limit when I make my "FYI" corrections to times I can explain a grammatical principle, or the reason for some exception ... or to note there is no logical reason for some exception. :(

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Ross at Play

Regarding the 'ing-form' of verbs and nouns derived from the same root word, which of the following examples would you perceive as correct?

1) His stammering in English is atrocious, regardless whether it's a second language or not.

2) His stammer in English ...

Ross at Play

@robberhands

which of the following examples would you perceive as correct?

My personal opinion is the nouns 'stammer' and 'stammering' have slightly different meanings.
A person's 'stammer' is a long-term difficulty. It continues to exist even at times their speech is normal. OTOH, 'stammering' is limited to times when they do not speak fluently. I would probably choose to say both of these:
(A) His stammer is barely noticeable these days.
(B) His stammering was almost unbearable.

My explanation would be there is a distinct difference in meaning when continuous and non-continuous ("state of being") tenses are chosen for the verb 'stammer'. I don't think that is common.

Much of the time, for the "major words" parts of speech (nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs), there will be at most one form for each part of speech. But, when a part of speech you want does not exist, you are free to create it, for example, add -ly to create an adverb.

When there exists more than one word of the same part of speech, and derived from the same root word, there is almost always some distinction between the meanings of those two forms. There are exceptions! :-)

Replies:   robberhands
Ross at Play

@robberhands

which of the following examples would you perceive as correct?

My personal opinion is the nouns 'stammer' and 'stammering' have slightly different meanings.
A person's 'stammer' is a long-term difficulty. It continues to exist even at times their speech is normal. OTOH, 'stammering' is limited to times when they do not speak fluently. I would probably choose to say both of these:
(A) His stammer is barely noticeable these days.
(B) His stammering was almost unbearable.

My explanation would be there is a distinct difference in meaning when continuous and non-continuous ("state of being") tenses are chosen for the verb 'stammer'. I don't think that is common.

Much of the time, for the "major words" parts of speech (nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs), there will be at most one form for each part of speech. But, when a part of speech you want does not exist, you are free to create it, for example, add -ly to create an adverb.

When there exists more than one word of the same part of speech, and derived from the same root word, there is almost always some distinction between the meanings of those two forms. There are exceptions! :-)

Replies:   richardshagrin
robberhands

@Ross at Play

Very interesting, but you didn't answer my question. For some reason I can't identify, the sentence 'His stammering in English is atrocious' sounds correct to me, whereas 'His stammer in English is atrocious' sounds wrong.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@robberhands

Very interesting, but you didn't answer my question. For some reason I can't identify, the sentence 'His stammering in English is atrocious' sounds correct to me, whereas 'His stammer in English is atrocious' sounds wrong.

And it is an interesting question I failed to answer the first time ...

I completely agree. The second one sounds "a bit off" to me. I would prefer, 'His stammer when speaking English is atrocious'.

Are you ready for an explanation? I mean, are you really ready for one?

The functions being served in both sentences consist of:
* Subject: the noun phrase 'his stammering/stammer in English'
* Verb: 'is'
* Predicate: the adjective 'atrocious'

The functions being served in the noun phrase 'his stammer in English' are:
* Determiner: 'His'
* Noun: 'stammer'
* Adverbial phrase: 'in English'
_ consisting of:
_ * Preposition: 'in'
_ * Something which I guess is called an Adverbial Adjunct.

The problem with that is an adverbial phrase is being used to modify something that only exists as a noun.

The difference in the noun phrase 'his stammering in English' is that 'stammering' is a "gerund". Those are the "two-headed monsters" in English. They function as both a noun and a verb.

BTW, if you want someone to blame, I'm pretty sure this is something we picked up from those damn Germans!

A gerund functions as a verb within a phrase. So it is valid for an adverbial phrase, 'in English', to modify it.

However, within a clause a gerund functions as the "head" of a noun phrase. The head of a noun phrase is word(s) the actual noun; anything else which may exist in the phrase adds information about it (in this case a determiner and an adverbial phrase).

* * *

I would contend that my previous explanation is also still valid. The effect of the adverbial phrase 'in English' is to define specific times when the action of the verb, 'to stammer', happens. If you are only talking about actions of a verbs at specific moments, then it makes sense to choose the continuous tense, rather than a non-continuous tense.

You're probably already trying to think of an example when not the -ing form sounds right. I expect they exist. I expect my answer would be there is no real difference in meaning between the continuous and non-continuous tenses for that verb. Englisg speakers tend to be very lazy about not using continuous tenses when there is no potential ambiguity.

* * *

I've done my best with this answer. I'm pretty sure that "because that one is a gerund" is at the root of the answer. I'm not sure how well I've explained why.

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Ross at Play

I've done my best with this answer. I'm pretty sure that "because that one is a gerund" is at the root of the answer. I'm not sure how well I've explained why.

You explained it very well, the reason I don't understand all of it is my lack of grammatical knowledge. Either way, I'm happy my vague feeling led to a correct result. Even if my grammatical knowledge is lacking, it seems I can continue to rely on my ear - if something sounds wrong to me, it mostly is.

Btw, I don't search for questions. When I ask something, I want an answer for a question I already have.

awnlee jawking

@robberhands

His stammering in English is atrocious, regardless whether it's a second language or not.


From that sentence alone, I can't discern whether the speaker is emphasising the stammering or the English.

Depending on the context, it might be sensible to clarify or reword.

AJ

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@awnlee jawking

No reason to do so. Ross answered my question and the statement of the sentence wasn't important.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@robberhands

Fair enough. I wrongly assumed you were quoting from a story.

AJ

richardshagrin

@Ross at Play

(A) His stammer is barely noticeable these days.
(B) His stammering was almost unbearable.

His hammer is barely noticeable these days.
His hammering was almost unbearable.

Hammer is a noun, hammering might be a verb. Perhaps stammer and stammering follow?

robberhands

@richardshagrin

Perhaps stammer and stammering follow?

Perhaps not?

Ross at Play

@richardshagrin

His hammer is barely noticeable these days.
His hammering was almost unbearable.
Hammer is a noun, hammering might be a verb. Perhaps stammer and stammering follow?

I have no idea what point, or what joke, you're trying to make.
'Hammering' is definitely functioning as a noun of that sentence: the verb is 'was' and its subject is 'His hammering'.

awnlee jawking

@richardshagrin

His hammer is barely noticeable these days.


Gwen will be most disappointed :(

AJ

Back to Top