Big news for our international patrons!
One of the biggest friction points with facilitating cross-border e-commerce involves VAT (Value Added Tax).
Anyone that has had to deal with placing an order from out-of-country is familiar with the added inconveniences that come along with that process that come in the form of a surprise tax bill as your order is processing through your country's import agency.
That is all going to change in a big way this spring, as some BIG changes are coming for 150+ countries around the world!
First, let's touch on what VAT is, and why it is in place.
What is VAT?
VAT, or Value Added Tax, is levied by your country's customs, or import agency.
It is imposed on any product entering your country's borders where sales tax was not collected/remitted on behalf of your country's tax authority, at the time of sale.
This means that your country's import agency is tasked with adding VAT to the declared, or invoiced value for the order, and require that you, the addressee of record pay that tax in order for it to be cleared and released for final destination shipment.
Naturally, this creates a friction point with our international friends that, until recently, no great solution existed for small businesses. Especially those who wish to offer their services internationally.
So, what are these BIG changes?
In Spring of 2023, VAT will be collected during checkout, meaning no more surprise tax bills!
This is being made possible through a Shopify program called "Markets Pro".
Markets Pro will allow us to work with partner providers to make online shopping internationally much easier, and remove some of the biggest barriers to serving customers in hundreds of countries around the world!
Some of these partners will act as the designated "Merchant of Record" who will be tasked with collecting, and remitting sales tax that are collected at the time of checkout, to the appropriate tax authorities, meaning your orders will be able to ship straight to your door, without any unnecessary delays (outside of any inspections by your customs/import agencies)!
This program will mean instant access to over 150 countries, simplifying the purchasing process for millions of people to shop internationally online, and greatly expanding accessibility of our own services!
Update: June 1, 2023
Our shop was selected for early testing of Markets Pro, and there were some compatibility conflicts that ultimately meant we had to delay implementation of these services.
We have passed along our feedback to Shopify's devs handling the development of their Markets Pro services, and we are keeping our fingers crossed that we will be able to permanently open these services to everyone in the near future, so stay tuned!