Facebook are illegally charging me 21% VAT...(and now they tell me they will continue to do so)
As a lot of you may have gathered, I am currently based in Chile. I'm setting up a company over here as part of Start-Up Chile. It's a record and music services company, so a huge part of my marketing strategy is Facebook Ads. (www.chilevibe.com
- not a lot to see there yet).
Of course, I am from the UK originally - - and that is reflected on my Facebook account. But according to their own help center:"If your business is not located in the EU you will not be required to pay VAT."
I updated my settings to reflect that I was in Chile, and started my advertising campaign. I was surprised to see that they charged me VAT on my next invoice at the end of November, but put it down as an administrative error. I checked my settings, but every time I updated my location to Chile, it reverted to the United Kingdom.
I wrote to their help center. 17 emails later, this is what I've learned:
1. "Unfortunately, it's not possible to change the currency of your account once it's set."
2. "We do not have the ability in our system to refund any VAT charges"
3. "The functionality to create a new account in a different currency was recently removed."
4. "You'll need to continue managing your account with the current settings."
Then it got interesting:"Since you provided a valid VAT number on file for your account, you were charged the appropriate tax."
Why is that interesting? I've never been registered for VAT in my life. I've never had a 'valid VAT number'. "You can remove your VAT number under your settings at any time."
There is no VAT number under my settings. I've never been registered for VAT."It is not possible for us to calculate VAT taxes without having a valid VAT number."
Well, guess what, you have..."Any account that doesn't have a VAT number is not charged this tax."
Well, guess what, they are...
Finally, after talking to them for two weeks, they've given me a voucher for $25. Whoopie-do - but it's a sign they're admitting liability. Facebook are committing VAT fraud... and they're going to continue to do so, until someone steps in and stops them.
cc/ +Tom Anderson +TechCrunch +Jason Kincaid +Sarah Perez +Mashable +Ben Parr +Pete Cashmore
- any of you guys want to take up the reigns on this one on my behalf? :-)