Re: This is a MASSIVELY irresponsible post
The problem is that many many small businesses selling knick-knacks online also sell services and downloads. Once you have the shop, adding downloads is trivial and obvious. A large number of 'crafters' sell patterns online (eg knitting, embroidery, jewelry design, CNC, 3d-printing). Self-help groups and special interest associations sell e-books. Teachers sell workbooks and study guides. Local bands sell their music or fan-club membership. Photographers sell photographs. Artists sell clip art and printable designs. Training companies sell online tutorials and tests. Tour companies sell podcasts, guides and route maps. Even, as one of my web-customers does, some of those almost pure knick-knack shops sell a site membership to give discounts to regular customers, or access to private or restricted content. All are affected because they have to know where their customer is at the time of purchase. And almost all are not companies, are below the VAT threshold and have no experience with VAT or VAT rules in the UK, let alone in 28 countries across Europe.
Unfortunately having got 28 countries to agree so many years ago, I can't see 28 countries agreeing to suspend the rules in a couple of weeks because they didn't realise how prevalent selling content would be online by now.