How to solve the EU VAT MOSS mess?
Here’s a simple solution if you sell software or are a SAAS: use a reseller. It works like this: you do your business as usual, but once a customer wants to buy, you shuttle the customer to a website of your reseller, where the customers pays for the software or service. In legal terms the customer is buying from the
reseller, who in turn buys the software from you. This shields you from EU #VATMOSS and sales tax obligations, as the reseller has to handle this. Your company is not selling any more to consumers in the EU, but instead selling to a company (the reseller). This construct shields your company from VAT and makes accounting simpler, as you have only one customer in the EU (the reseller). Obviously, the resellers charge for this service. Your advantage is much simpler accounting and less accounting fees. In practice this reseller setup is technically similar to using Stripe or PayPal, when you use their service and servers to do a payment transaction. The fees the resellers ask are higher than Stripe or PayPal, but the resellers take on fraud prevention, VAT handling and payment charges. For customers outside of the EU you can still use Stripe and PayPal (I recently heard that Japan is moving to -or having- a similar VAT system than the EU).
Here’s a list of resellers (I didn’t try them, so I can’t give a recommendation):
Be aware that using them might have implications with regard to EU privacy protection laws (this is also the case when using stripe).
The invoice solution
There’s also another solution: you can use an invoice service who handles the EU VAT calculations for you: https://www.quaderno.io/. Then you can combine quaderno with the VAT Mini One Stop Shop (the link is to the UK, other EU countries also have an equivalent service). This is cheaper than a reseller in terms of payment fees, but requires more accounting (and accounting fees).
[UPDATE]: The EU may (or may not) change their VAT rules in 2018. This could be a simplification for smaller business. SendOwl has written an overview about the proposed changes: https://www.sendowl.com/blog/eu-vat-update-dec-2016.html