Breaking: UK traders receiving massive #VATMOSS #EUVAT payment demands from Ireland

Important VATMOSS update
On 1 December 2016 the European Commission announced a package of proposed reforms to the VATMOSS scheme. Please read this post for the latest updates, as some of the proposed changes may affect the situation described in the post below.

Critical update, Monday 17 August: in a defiant and unapologetic statement, Revenue Ireland has confirmed that these letters were legitimate but sent out erroneously. Their statement confirms a report in the Irish Times stating that there were 2,000 of these letters sent out by mistake.

Here’s the EU Vat Action Campaign on what we know about these letters, and why blaming it on a “system error” at the Irish Revenue is just not bloody good enough.


Today there have been a number of tweets from UK-based microtraders and businesses who have received what appear to be legitimate – and massive – VATMOSS invoices from the Irish Revenue.

A couple of questions here. If this isn’t a scam –

  1. Who and what is the source of these letters being sent out?
  2. Who and what is the source of the five and six figure quotes, e.g. what orifice did they pull these numbers out of?
  3. How did the Irish Revenue get these UK traders’ data? In other words
  4. Does using your national MOSS portal mean that your business data is shared across European tax authorities regardless? Alternatively
  5. Is this a data leak from the Irish Revenue? Inside job?
  6. Is this the result of a hack into a MOSS system?

Is this an incredibly professional scam? We’ve seen this happen with poorly thought out EU digital laws before. If it is a scam, then how did the scammers acquire a database of what anecdotally appears to be every UK trader registered on the MOSS system? Given the data protection obligations that VATMOSS created for every European trader regardless of size or turnover, from the first penny of the first sale, any hacking into or leak of those traders’ personal details would be the sickest irony of this entire saga.

If you receive one of these letters, please share it with the EUVAT Action Campaign and tweet it with the hashtag #VATMOSS.

And here’s to all of you dealing with these letters on a Saturday, because of an ignorantly implemented tax reform that should never have involved you in the first place.

About the author

Heather Burns is a digital law specialist in Glasgow, Scotland. She researches, writes, publishes, consults, and speaks extensively on internet laws and policies which affect the crafts of web design and development. She has been designing and developing web sites since 1997 and has been a professional web site designer since 2007. She holds a postgraduate certification in internet law and policy from the University of Strathclyde. Learn about hiring Heather to write, speak, or consult.

5 thoughts on “Breaking: UK traders receiving massive #VATMOSS #EUVAT payment demands from Ireland

  1. Got one too, I’m based in the Netherlands. For 800,000 GBP, fortunately it stated I had already paid 300,000 so I’m only due for 500,000 🙂
    These letters are not fake, it appears to be a system error.

  2. It was probably the most common reason, implementing software upgrade into live system with outstanding testing or someone scheduled a compliance run before testing complete. There will be fallout as a result,but not I suspect a public servant. They have hundreds of contractors

    • We simply don’t know, and given the arrogance of the statement the Revenue posted to its Dreamweaver web site, I don’t expect they’ll issue a transparent explanation.

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