HMRC Targets Tax Avoiding eBay Entrepreneurs

HMRC is offering people who earn a living from selling items through the likes of eBay and Amazon, and have not ensured their tax affairs are in order, an option to ‘Buy it Now’.

Online resellers have until the 14th of June to own up to any money they owe after the taxman wrote to 32,000 traders it has in its sights earlier this month. Those who come forward now will have to pay a reduced penalty of 20 per cent on the tax they haven’t paid.

Increasing the pressure over the weekend, hugely popular eBay confirmed it is handing over the names and full contact details of large numbers of traders to comply with an end of May deadline set by HMRC.

Stephen Barratt, private client director at accountants and business advisers James Cowper said:

“Most occasional buyers and sellers are not affected but HMRC’s campaign will undoubtedly be alarming for individuals who make their living through online reselling. Resellers who sell goods online as a trade or business and have not made full disclosures in respect of their income should consider making a voluntary disclosure to HMRC as a matter of urgency.”

However, Stephen adds a note of caution:

“We also recommend that those who believe they might owe tax seek advice from an accountant or tax adviser before approaching HMRC to make a disclosure so that matters are planned and dealt with in the best possible way.”

The campaign is part of HMRC’s strategy to collect an additional £4 billion for the Treasury before next April.

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