Apple: VAT, fraud, and UK customers…

Clearly stated on every single page on the Apple store (it’s the page footer):

Prices are inclusive of VAT (15%) but exclusive of delivery charges unless otherwise indicated.

In the Apple Store, Apple therefore appears to (maybe…actually does, considering they *clearly state* the above?) over-charge you for VAT. But there’s more to this (obviously – it would be horrifically stupid if that were all: defrauding via VAT makes governments very unhappy indeed).

When I looked into this in detail, it turns out that they are simply … lying … when it comes to the VAT charge. From their help pages on VAT:

Why do I pay 21.5% VAT on Electronic Software Download orders and other products which are classified as services?

The VAT rate for Apple customers who purchase Electronic Software Downloads or other Apple products which are classified as services under EU VAT law will be 21.5% Irish VAT. This is because the place of supply of these products under EU VAT law is Ireland as the country from where Apple Sales International makes these supplies.

(amusingly, that specific page (and only that page) has a custom page footer that adds a note specifically on the extra VAT that Apple charges you because of the low rate of corporate tax they’re paying for headquartering themselves in Ireland. Doesn’t mention the reason (lower taxes on their profits) – I added that bit myself :))

Ah. Thanks, Apple. It would be nice if you actually mentioned that at POS, perhaps even included it in the order summary (like most internet companies do)? Sigh. Also, I wonder at the legality of declaring you’re charging VAT at once price, and then actually charging it at a different price? I don’t really care – the difference is only a few pounds in this case – but someone buying 10 copies of Adobe software might find it was a serious amount of money…

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