B2B sales VAT-number

The subscription plugin and its integration to Stripe do not handle VAT (GST/Sales Tax) numbers. This means that the plugin cannot be used for legally compliant B2B (business-to-business) subscription sales in most countries.

Has anyone found a way to mitigate this issue?

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Has anyone using the platform for B2B payments found any kind of workaround?

Does the Discourse Team have any insights on this matter?

Your assistance would be greatly appreciated.

I had a meeting with one B2B customer who is acting EU-wide and they are now planning to sell subscriptionss thru WordPress/WooCommerce and using SSO toward Discourse.

One really strong reason for that was limitations of Stripe and because Discourse is supporting only Stripe that wasn’t actually matter of choose at all. And because they are planning to open B2C service too WordPress was quite obvious alternative — using PayPal or Stripe is close to businesslevel suicide because quite many EU-countries have decent bankingsystem and payment transferring thru multiple third parties.

I understand that Discourse can’t support that. Mainly because — I hate to say this at loud — Discourse as a product is not mainstream and using Discourse as e-commerce even inside its own niche is on microlevel. That’s why there isn’t too many dev-houses, if any, that are willing to start building such system.

Don’t get me wrong. If someone is operating in areas where Stripe is an option (and there is no need to play with VAT-numbers with enterprise customers) then everything is fine.

Can you elaborate about that?

No one wants use it up here. As I said, we have alternaties. Not even companies use credit cards for digital payments unless it is absolutely must. Plus if it needs extra bookkeeping because seller can’t handle VAT it is quite big nono.

Quite few of B2C level customers just don’t trust but that is something that can change because Netflix forces to use credit card kind of directly. But again, even then it goes thru banks, not credit card companies. Visa, Amex etc. are operating with banks in these situations.

And again — all is generally speaking, but it is quite common way in Europe. And sorry, UK is another story.

But if I try to get back on topic, VAT must be handled right, with companies and specially with human customers when operating in EU. We are selling a service and VAT comes from country of a customer, not where that service is locared. And VAT-reports are nightmare and errors there cost awful lots of money.

That is actually way bigger thing than some theoretical questions about GDPR and forum content.

Very off topic about UK…

One UK company wanted buy from me one solution two months ago and they incisted to pay using a cheque. Sorry, but last time I saw something like that here was 1986. And at some point of my life I did greyhound in Ireland and all customers were britons — there is no way I would start waiting 2 weeks if that piece of paper will bounce back or not when year in 2024 :rofl:

Yes, VAT is a nightmare in Europe, but that doesn’t have anything to do with Stripe, it applies to all B2C payments.

Funny thing is that I don’t really recognize this - most people here in the Netherlands have credit cards and don’t mind using it, even when there are many alternatives. I think the main issue with all those alternatives is that they are pretty “local”, i.e. limited to one or a few countries and not EU-wide applicable.

And Finland is one of the EU countries with the highest credit card ownership rate…

Yes that is true. Those are two different things indeed:

  • why Stripe is not popular
  • how Subscriptions handles VAT (if there is issues… I don’t know, I just try follow what here is written

So I behaved badly. Sorry.

Yes, because practically all bankcards are debit/credit (by Visa) cards at same time. But when it is used payment goes thru a bank even with credit — it dictates only when money will be withdrawn and how. Safety mechanism, and it is coming from EU actually. In Nordic its adoption was easy, because it didn’t change anything. But that was one reason why Klarna was in troubles.

But that matters when we are speaking B2C. B2B is different world, and even there the situation is not same depending size of business.

But all the time VAT must be handled right. We can do what ever other things, but not fooling around with EU-VAT[1]


  1. god damn VAT is a bit sensitive topic up here now because our government raised it to 25,5%; Hungary has higher VAT ↩︎

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I think we do have an open feature request for this, and it is something we’re aware of/working on but I’m afraid I haven’t got a firm timeline as to when that may be prioritised.

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Please see this post about setting up the new Stripe Pricing Table feature:

it will allow you to start collecting tax automatically during checkout.