Petition for EU VAT exemption in Shopify

There is a petition going on to let Shopify support VAT exemption, which it still doesn’t do. Several Shopify users are frustrated by the fact that whenever an EU based customer with a valid VAT number places an order in a different EU country, VAT is added to the sales price. Shopify doesn’t support a way to automatically validate VAT numbers during the checkout process.


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The online petition was started by entrepreneur Jeroen Krielaars, the Dutch owner of online store Animography. He sells digital downloads and uses the ecommerce software platform Shopify to do this. “Shopify does a really great job on all the other aspects of ecommerce, it’s just this tiny, but super important aspect that causes a big problem”, he says.

In the petition he explains how Shopify still doesn’t support a way to automatically validate VAT numbers during the checkout process. And as result it is “impossible to exclude business-to-business customers from VAT”, Krielaars explains.

He contacted the Canadian ecommerce company, but it didn’t lead to any real solution. The customer service suggested he validates the VAT numbers himself and then make a refund of the VAT to those who are eligible.

The solution
Krielaars is not only complaining, he also comes up with a solution that would work for him. He would like to see a field in the checkout process where customers can fill in their VAT number. “This will then be validated by a publicly accessible database. If the VAT number is a match with the database, no VAT will be added on top of the sales price. It’s as simple as that.”

According to Krielaars lots of other ecommerce platforms are already using this method, so Shopify shouldn’t need to reinvent the wheel themselves. And as he is not the only one complaining, the online retailer hopes other frustrated customers will sign his petition, so Shopify takes notice and hopefully does something about this.