It’s only the assholes at Adobe that are forcing the purchasers in England to purchase in UK currency, presumably from a UK website.
The way they’ll justify all this bull is that they have an office in the UK, and that’s what causes the requirement for them to charge the VAT. That’s why they won’t let England-based customers pay on the US site in dollars, because if they did, we would be paying the US office of Adobe and would not be liable for the VAT. It’s all perfectly worked out in this country to screw us over, always has been.
No, it’s EU law. A real doozie of a law that would probably have led to hot war in previous eras, and ought to have led to a trade war by now in my opinion.
If an EU citizen buys a tangible good (a camera, for example) from outside the EU, then the customs and excise authority (or agent) of the citizen’s country will intercept the item at the port of entry and then charge the citizen VAT (and likely other duties) before collection or delivery. This is quite normal - all countries in the world apply taxes and/or customs duty on physical imports to some degree.
But digital downloads and services offered a new challenge to the tax collectors. There is no way to intercept, and thus no way to collect. So, from 1st July 2003, a digital services directive (Directive 2002/38/EC) came into effect, tightening up somewhat vague arrangements. This requires (and I’m not kidding here) non-EU businesses (such as US businesses) selling digital goods and services to EU based customers to register with tax authorities in the EU nations and then collect VAT from EU customers and hand it over to said EU nation authorities - along with relevant accounts.
So businesses in sovereign countries are required to disadvantage themselves and some of their customers by acting as unpaid tax collectors on behalf of a group of foreign governments.
Of course, any red-blooded sovereign-nation business with no physical presence whatsoever in the EU can rightly ignore these foreign regulations and invite these “authorities” to sod off and collect their own taxes.
But any sovereign-nation business that has or intends to have some physical presence in the EU (exporting tangible goods as well as digital, or owning shops, etc) is vulnerable to legal action against its EU interests and so will be pressured into compliance. That’s why Adobe, Apple, Microsoft, etc, charge EU VAT to EU customers for digital goods and services purchased outside the EU. They would very much prefer to not charge, collect and forward the VAT, I can assure you.
Note that non-EU businesses can opt to register for compliance with Directive 2002/38/EC in one EU country (instead of every country) and then all EU customers pay the VAT rate of that one country for those businesses’ digital goods and services. Hence if Len buys an iPod (har har har) online from the Apple UK webstore he pays VAT at 20% (UK rate), but if he buys some songs for it from iTunes he pays VAT at 23% (Rep. of Ireland rate).
It all sucks - by design.