Tax Man Targets Ebay and Amazon Traders

eBay and Amazon traders targetted by HMRCHer Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has been targetting small businesses over the past few years looking to see who has not paid their taxes.

So far HMRC has focused its sights on particular sectors and has already targetted "Avon ladies", restaurants and plumbers who are suspected of not paying their dues.

Now the tax man is looking at eBay traders and Amazon marketplace traders.

Back in May HMRC offered an amnesty to eBay and Amazon traders. That deadline, originally set for the 14th of June, was extended to the 14th of September and has expired. The voluntary disclosure facility, or Electronic Marketplace Disclosure Facility (e-MDF), is now closed.

HMRC have worked with both eBay and Amazon to identify users who are classified or recognised as traders and some 30,000 letters had been sent out.

Now the tax man is coming to collect what he is owed from the e-marketplace campaign.

Professional sellers who are found to be behind on their tax payments will not only have to pay the tax due but will also be subject to penalties on top of what they owe. This could be as much as 100% in some cases if the tax avoidance is seen to be deliberate.

According to the FT, a spokesperson for HMRC said:

“We want to make it easy for online marketplace traders to take part in the campaign. If you owe tax and don’t get in contact by the deadline, do not assume that HMRC will not catch up with you soon. It’s better to come to us before we come to you.”

The move comes as part of HMRC’s drive to collect all taxes that are owed and it is hoping to collect an additional £4 billion for the Treasury before April 2013.

HMRC has collected additional revenue from high net worth individuals, late payers and has worked to change the rules regarding tax avoidance schemes, taking action against advisors who advocate such schemes.

Small businesses concerned about their tax affairs should speak with their accountants, get in contact with the HMRC and take a look at our business advice articles on HMRC Compliance Checks FAQ and make sure they are ready for HMRC spot checks.

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