The Global Market Hits a Tax Snag
This is more widely spread than the comic market, of course, but that’s the one that brought it to my attention.
As of July 1, the European Union has implemented new rules for US and UK sellers. Per shipping provider stamps.com,
Prior to July 1, 2021, no VAT fees were required for commercial goods valued up to 22 euros (approximately $26). Goods valued at 22 euros or less were able to be shipped into EU countries with no additional fees required for buyers. After July 1, 2021, all goods imported to the EU valued at up to 150 euros (approximately $178) will be subject to VAT and items valued at more than 150 euros will be subject to VAT and duties. VAT rates are different for each EU country based on the service and type of product being delivered, with most VAT fees ranging around 20% of the total cost (sales price plus shipping).
For many companies, the easiest solution — instead of trying to implement a new system to calculate these fees and get the required codes and provide the additional information customs declarations now require — is to stop selling to those locations. Which may be part of the desired outcome, I don’t know.
According to UK publisher Soaring Penguin Press, in an informative Twitter thread, intermediary companies set up to deal with these new fees and regulations are charging high prices to do so, which makes this unfeasible for small companies and publishers.
Shipping without handling this is an option, although customers will then be shaken down at point of receipt for the taxes and additional fees, meaning they might abandon the purchase and demand a refund. The most likely outcome, until the market adjusts and more options become available, is for small publishers outside the EU to stop selling comics into it.