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Prokofy Neva

Pham, it is a basic principle of international law that you cannot legislate beyond your shores unless you have bilateral or international treaties. If the EU demands that companies in other countries do something, that is indeed legislating beyond their shores. They can require their citizens to get receipts; they could require their citizens to pay luxury taxes or importan taxes, but then they have to find some reasonable means of monitoring and collecting them themselves, not make other countries or entities collect them.

Surely the EU cannot expect all American or other foreign countries to be "in violation" because they don't comply with a local, domestic law. That's absurd!

And surely the EU cannot expect foreign companies to collect their tax for them! That's nuts!

The U.S. states solved this problem by a) not charging tax for interstate e-commerce -- go on amazon.com and order a book from New York State that will be sent to you from Georgia and you will watch 0.00 pop into the tax template on the bill; and b) not enforcing laws that say, for example, California companies have to charge Californians the tax (you with your New York address will also see 0.0 pop up from ordering within New York).

Perhaps the authorities will become more vigorous in their prosecution, but it hasn't happened, as they aren't starting from a premise that e-commerce is something that must be strangled.

The EU, on the other hand, appears to have started from the premise that yes, e-commerce must be strangled for fear of smuggling.

What I understand least of all in this shrill debate, and find least defensible, is this claim and concern that "LL does not provide proper receipts OMGODZORZZ!!111"

Here's how this has to be handled:

1. Did you get the actual bill yet? No. You got a warning of a bill; when it comes, examine it, before panicking.

2. If that bill has a VAT registration number on it, and it indicates that VAT has been added for a new price of $295 plus $50, let's say, then it seems in compliance. If the hysterical people fear it is not in complaince, then...they show it to accountants or tax authorities. The Answers man on Yahoo and on various tax sites basically counsel that -- show what you do have in good faith.

3. Surely these authorities will accept that in good faith, some sort of receipt was provided, and should more information be required, it can be given. There are hundreds of Europeans screaming at Lindens liasons now in the most unseemly way, insisting they provide "proper receipts" or people will face "the horrible prospect" of being in violation of tax authorities. But surely, should such authorities come around, you show them the electronic receipt you have, and if necessary, you attempt to get more -- you don't pre-anticipate trouble.

This preanticipation of trouble is curious.

4. The Lindens are quite capable if it turns out to be required of putting a VAT number on an invoice receipt; putting a business address on an invoice, etc. I keep hearing this comment that LL doesn't issue invoices. But it does. The warning that the bill is coming IS the invoice. If it needs another this could be asked. I also keep hearing that it is "illegal to add VAT on to a price." But VAT isn't being "added on".

$295. Tier
50. VAT
$334. Total Price

5. I hear some people demanding that each and every product, island, money, tier, have its own individual receipt. Huh?

In short, all reason and sense have gone out the door. This issue is in fact a metaphor having to bear the burden of many other issues which involve:

o hatred of Americans
o resentment of Americans
o immatury and insecurity in new business by people who have no real life experience
o fear, uncertainty, doubt about virtuality
o the upheavals anticipated by open-source


Lukas Althouse


1. EU VAT must only be paid by foreign companies with a turnover in excess of 60,000 euros in Europe.

2. The reason we need a VAT number is not because we are being difficult or hating americans but because you can't claim the VAT back without the suppliers number and a proper invoice. Even if you are registered for VAT you still have to pay it - but with the VAT number and invoice you can get the money back.

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