Beginning January 1, 2015 OST Publications will no longer accept orders for ebooks from outside the United States due to changes to the Value Added Tax laws instituted by the European Union.

Essentially, the EU wants to close VAT tax loopholes and is going after digital commerce revenues. Products like The Missing Conversation¬†and the Modern Freight Car series fall under these new regulations, making me liable, even though I’m a US based business. The changes are global in nature, impacting small and micro businesses like mine world-wide. I’m fortunate to have a wide readership in the US but overseas sales represents income I’m loath to lose.

I’ve just become aware that these regulations impact my business and am working to understand what my options are. Due to the Christmas and New Years holidays I’ve been unable to find immediate answers for how to proceed or even if the amount of lost income justifies the added expense of compliance.

I know how frustrating this will be for my overseas customers and I apologize for your inconvenience and this temporary ban on ordering. The compliance regulations are stringent with draconian record keeping mandates. If and when I can put a solution in place or find that I must permanently loose overseas business, I will post it on the blog. It’s always something.

Mike Cougill


  1. Jimbofin


    In fact in theory a non EU supplier of digital goods to the EU has been required to register under the MOSS/Vat on E Services scheme since 2003.

    What appears to be the case is that along with the new regulations will come a new emphasis on enforcement.

    One possible way around this would be to sell via a third party, for instance making the books available as kindle editions on Amazon. My understanding is VAT would still be payable but Amazon would handle that.

    There is an enormous anomaly in the current UK tax system inthat printed books are 0% rated for tax whilst ebooks incur a massive 20% VAT.

    Needless to say that those of us in the UK will be greatly saddened if we can’t access the Missing Conversation, whilst appreciating your position.

    We will, obviously, still read your blog and draw much inspiration from it!

    Happy New Year


  2. Simon

    A tax on knowledge.

    Which philistine came up with that?


  3. mike

    While everyone has an opinion about such things, venting them here isn’t going to solve anything. Let’s all exercise some discretion in commenting.


  4. Simon

    Oh dear. Wry bemusement obviously doesn’t carry well on line, does it?

  5. mike

    Hi Simon,
    I understood the humor in the comment. I’m more frustrated than angry for a host of reasons. I am so appreciative of the way folks around the world have accepted this work, and the fact that I have to refuse orders from some is frustrating.

    I’m also frustrated with my own naivete’ in these matters. Now that the holidays are over, I hope I can find the answers I’m looking for.