Posts Tagged ‘ebay’
Ponder for a moment while you decide which you hate most out of BT and British Gas, in a battle between two former nationally-owned companies that were sold off and have constantly pissed you off over the past year.
After that comes the deadly duo that is eBay and Paypal, in the head-to-head that usually causes lots of controversy among certain elements of our readership. Have we pitted them against each other purely out of spite? We couldn’t possibly comment.
You’ve got until the end of Boxing Day to make your decision which of them will progress to the quarter-finals so don’t go making any rash decisions. Catch up with all the voting so far here…
It’s tempting, especially at this time of year, to turn to eBay for bargain presents or to make a quick buck. However, someone else also looks to eBay to make some easy money- and the taxman might even offer you a complimentary stay at Her Majesty’s pleasure.
We have previously wondered aloud about HMRC’s targeted campaign against eBay traders, and whether or not their methods are legitimate, the fact remains that if you are trading, you should be declaring your profits as income and paying income tax as appropriate. But what some traders may further overlook is the fact that if you make a large amount of sales, you may also be required to charge VAT.
The current turnover limit for VAT registration is £73,000, so if you have made this amount of sales (no, not profit) in the last 12 months, or expect to cross this threshold in the next 30 days, you should register for VAT. This means you need to add 20% to the selling price of your goods and pay it over to HMRC. If you do not register, then your selling price will be assumed to be VAT inclusive and they will still want their money.
Take the case of a ‘stay-at-home’ father from Croydon who was found guilty of avoiding more than £420,000 in VAT.
Instead of declaring his electrical goods sales to the VATman and adding on the 20% VAT, he was able to undercut his rivals because he “did not realise he was obliged to pay VAT on the goods he sold”.
In 2007, he was informed by his accountant that he should have been charging VAT and that he owed approximately £67,000, but instead of paying up, he foolishly continued until he was caught in December 2010.
Prosecutor David Hewitt said “It wasn’t until 2007 that he realised he wasn’t paying it properly. At that point he was in too deep and he realised he was stuck. He did try it legitimately but he couldn’t make the system work because he couldn’t make enough money.”
Sentencing him to 20 months in prison, Judge Anthony Leonard QC said: “Being aware of your obligations to pay VAT you carried out a thoroughly dishonest scheme to avoid paying VAT. You avoided £429,000 of VAT and because you were able to offer the goods at prices below those a trader paying VAT could you have prevented honest tax paying traders competing with you.”
Of course, we must assume that the majority of eBay sellers are already aware of their VAT obligations and that they are correctly accounting for VAT. However, for the less fiscally aware, news of this case may mean that your bargain goods become 20% more expensive. Alternatively, once these sellers take account of seller fees, Paypal fees and VAT, they may decide not to bother after all.
It’s all going to happen in the West End of London, and for five days only fron 1st December. It’ll be a ‘pop-up shop’, which to us translates as ‘easily smashed to bits’ but never mind. Oh, and there’ll be no tills either. Shoppers will pay with their smartphones, scanning one of those psychedelic QR codes that will take them to the payment section of eBay’s website.
Oh, and the shop won’t sell any actual stuff that you can walk away with on the day. There’ll be just 200 best-selling items in the ‘pop-up shop’ and if you purchase any of them, they’ll be delivered to your home in the normal way.
So, essentially, it’ll be a souped-up internet café. Which we suspect will be easily smashed up. Thanks eBay – we’ll see you THERE!
You’ve only got a few hours before this one has gone from eBay – it’s a Sinclair C5 that has been converted from a potential deathtrap into a beautiful modern-looking cot bed fit for your favourite kid. Although, as the seller points out, he made it himself so it doesn’t comply with any pesky safety standards…
Want to buy the lettering from Newcastle United’s Park East Stand at the theatre of satire, St James’ Park? If the answer is a baffling ‘why aye’, then you’re in luck because the club is selling them off on eBay.
Why are they selling them off? Presumably to replace the letters with a gigantic advert for something. Probably Sports Direct. Magpies will love that logo. It looks like they were right, although they have now got the chance to own the letters.
Each 6ft letter sis being flogged in the name of charity, which means you can do something worthwhile for once, while also getting the chance to spell out ‘Uncleaned Sew Tit’ or ‘Sweet Nun Dialect’ and there’s definitely a ‘C’, ‘N’, ‘U’ and a ‘T’ to play with.
Yesterday we brought you Amazon.com’s original homepage, and now, way back when it was known as AuctionWeb, here’s a screenshot of how eBay used to look almost 15 years ago. Much friendlier than it does today, eh readers? EH??
Here’s a VERY CLEVER piece of trickery from HotUKDeals user ibiza that could save you some money when you’re buying Buy It Now stuff from eBay. Here’s what ibiza says….
This works best on getting cheaper things from the Far East, and nothing you are hoping to see in a few days.
On eBay UK the minimum Buy It Now price is 99p. However, if you go to the address bar of your browser and change the “.uk” in the eBay address to “m” to get “ebay.com/…” you get the same search on the American site where the minimum Buy It Now price is 99c, which comes it at 61p when paid with Paypal. It also helps if you change where it’s searching to “worldwide” (this is near the bottom of the list of options at the left of the page – and its a little box you tick).
I used it for buying things for party bags and saved about a tenner dropping the cost to £20. I also got two Nokia USB chargers for our phones for $0.99 when for one on the UK site it was £0.99. Additionally – as the postage from the Far East is actually far less than the UK, often the postage is free. On the few things that arrived with normal stamps rather than a printed type frank – the postage was 2.5 Yaun – so less than a UK second class stamp for a slim letter. I think the fee charged by Paypal is just a not very good exchange rate – and I would doubt if its more than 1p or 2p more per £1 than a good exchange would give you (the no commission type). Here is the exchange rate I just paid there just now….
“PayPal Conversion Rate as of 24 Aug 2011: 1 British Pound = 1.59579 US Dollars”
To those of you expressing concerns about any tax or duty that may be due, they currently ignore everything under £18, although this will be dropping to £15 just before Christmas. So you would need to buy over twenty items and have them packed in the one envelope for it to attract any duty even then. But if there are thousands of small packages coming through – then no one is going to check – and I have not had mail opened buy customs for a few years now. The changes are likely to be aimed at Play.com and MyMemory who currently pay the UK directly on all imports over £18.
So there you go. Thanks ibiza!
You probably remember us reporting on HMRC claiming they could magically tie up people’s eBay usernames with their self assessment record a little while ago. We ponitifcated on the matter, as did you, and some suggested that it might be eBay-owned Paypal who was sharing the pillow talk with HMRC.
Now, new reports that Paypal in the US are sharing information with the IRS seemed to add further weight to speculations of a sordid little affair here in the UK.
In the US, owing to new IRS rules, PayPal has started asking users to provide a tax ID number, which is either a Social Security number, Individual Tax Identification Number or an Employer Identification Number. PayPal (US) will use this tax ID number to send tax Form 1099-K to you and the IRS when the payments you receive exceed both of these milestones in a calendar year:
> $20,000 in gross payment volume for goods and services
> 200 payments
Clearly most ‘normal’, non-trading PayPal users, will not breach theses limits, so Paypal will not need to report them to the IRS. But they’ll still need to enter their tax ID just in case. Hmmm.
So we asked Paypal UK about this. At first they were baffled, knowing nothing of the US, but when pressed we were given the following responses:
Paypal takes data protection seriously and would never volunteer account information, but they do work with law enforcement and will provide any information requested by law. They also confirmed that there are no plans to request self-assessment of other tax reference numbers from UK Paypal users.
So that’s good, right? Paypal only gives HMRC information when required to do so by law. Nothing shady going on here.
You see, back in 2008, some new rules were introduced in the Finance Act 2008, specifically Schedule 36. And Schedule 36 FA 2008 gives HMRC some fairly hefty powers to request information. The law states:
“An officer of Revenue and Customs may by notice in writing require a person
(a) to provide information, or
(b) to produce a document,
if the information or document is reasonably required by the officer for the purpose of checking the tax position of another person whose identity is known to the officer (the taxpayer).”
Strictly speaking HMRC should get consent from the taxpayer first (known as an informal request), but they don’t always have to. Their own manuals of best practice state the following:
“We may need extra information or to carry out an inspection in order to check a person’s tax position. The vast majority of people co-operate with our requests…However, we are not obliged to make an informal request. We may decide to use our legal powers straight away where we have good reason to believe it will be more effective or efficient to do so. For example, we might not make an informal request where there is a history of non-cooperation or where tax evasion is a feature of the case.
We might also not make an informal request to obtain information from third parties, even where a person is co-operating fully and tax evasion is not suspected. This may be because …there is no informal way of obtaining the information. For example, there may be confidentiality or Data Protection issues for the third party.”
So even if you have done nothing wrong, or are not suspected of doing anything wrong, HMRC can ‘formally request’ information on your Paypal account. And Paypal will tell them everything. Looks like the Mystery of the Taxman and the eBay seller is now solved.
Still, if you have nothing to hide, there’s no need to worry about huge invasions of privacy or anything is there?
This here, is one of the funniest eBay listings around. It seems de rigueur for people to come up with amusing listings and it seems to be a good way of getting your auctions noticed. Whether it actually helps you to sell your wares is another matter entirely.
Last month the HMRC announced they’d be focusing their attention on eBay and other online marketplaces; specifically, they said they had the means to find tax evaders by monitoring websites with “web robot” software that used targeted information about specified people and companies.
We wondered out loud how are HMRC could possibly go about matching eBay usernames to Self Assessment records, since HMRC themselves stated categorically that they were not obtaining any personal details directly from eBay. Was it some elaborate ruse to frighten taxes out of the public? Not according to the spokesperson Bitterwallet talked to. They didn’t like us very much when we suggested that, or when we queried whether they were acquiring personal details in breach of the Data Protection Act.
Specifically, their exact words were that it was a “ridiculous” suggestion and such speculation would make HMRC “animated and annoyed”. In fact it would make them “extraordinarily annoyed”. They then threatened to set their lawyers on us.
That’s where avid Bitterwallet reader Donald took up the story, when he submitted a Freedom of Information request to HMRC:
Please could you provide details of exactly how information identifying users is linked to self assessment records, if they are not being provided by e-marketplaces? I do not sell on any e-marketplaces, however I am concerned that there could be a breach of the data protection act during this process.
I am interested in how a “web robot” could possibly link users of an e-marketplace to their tax self-assessment records on the connect system, using only public information with no additional information provided by the
e-marketplace websites in question.
Unfortunately, the Freedom of Information Act stipulates that organisations can refuse to provide information that may be considered commercially sensitive or against public interest – and so HMRC refused to answer the question:
Whilst it is in the public interest to be open and accountable for the relevance, robustness and value for money aspects of our systems, and to assist compliance by helping the public understand the effect that HMRC’s law enforcement activities can have, we also need to consider the operational sensitivities involved… it is likely that some harm would occur to the revenue if we were to reveal too much detail. Criminals are known to research our capabilities in order to make concerted attacks on the revenue.
So we’re still none the wiser: as Stuart suggests, the most likely way HMRC could catch individuals on eBay is by making a test purchase by requesting the user’s details from eBay or PayPal.
Because if you’re going to sell a pair of shoes on eBay, the best way to show them off is slip them on and then sprawl out on the carpet. Nothing showcases a product like a women pretending to be a corpse.
[eBay] thanks to avid Bitterwallet reader Louise
It looks like eBay have stuck the knife into their users yet again with another major fee hike. If you sell ‘buy it now’ items, you’ll shortly be forking out a lot more in final value fees, which means that more of your slice will be going to eBay and probably Paypal whenever you sell something of value.
In an email to users, eBay say…
On 21 July 2011, the final value fee for fixed price listings (Buy It Now) will be changed to a flat rate of 10%, up to a maximum £40. This new flat fee replaces the current tiered structure, making it simpler and easier for you to calculate up-front the fees you’ll pay. As before, you won’t pay any final value fee if your items don’t sell. The new calculations only apply to items listed or scheduled to start on or after the 21 July 2011.
So, as HotUKDeals user mumbojumbo says, “At the moment, a £300 technology item attracts a final value fee of £8.17. From 21st July it will be £30!!!!!” But mumbojumbo, you don’t understand – as eBay have said, the new flat fee makes it “simpler and easier for you to calculate up-front the fees you’ll pay”. See? It’s easier! Even though it’s costing you over £20 more than it used to, it’s EASIER.
Without wishing to seem crass, it seems like a good time for us to recommend that you abandon eBay and use the HotUKDeals spin-off trading site FOLK instead. Other trading/auction sites are available…
We all enjoy an amusing eBay listing now and again, and this description of a job lot of old records from the 1980s is one of the best we’ve read for a while…
“You are bidding on a collection of 50 (approx) 12″ singles and LPs of crap music.
My sister found these in her attic last weekend, where they has been sat gathering dust for the last couple of decades. They used to belong to her ex husband, who is one of the biggest arseholes ever to draw breath. I never liked the wanker, and based my initial antipathy towards him on his taste in music. Not to put too fine a point on it, he was that most contemptible form of pond life, a Jazz Funker.
This meant that as well as shit taste in music, he had appalling taste in clothes too. Pringle jumpers, pleated Farrahs, shoes that looked like pasties, white socks, revolting shirts and a comical wedge-cut hairdon’t. Add to this 80s fashion horrorshow a Ford Capri and Super Mario style moustache underlining his bulbous nose, and you get an object lesson in twatdom. No wonder Northern Soul fans (and everyone else) treated the Jazz Funk fans with sneering comntempt.
I couldn’t comprehend what on earth my usually sensible sister could possibly see in the pillock. In vain I pleaded with her to send him packing. My argument that his hankering for Earth Wind & Fire records and attendance at soul weekenders made him a poor choice of mate was waved away as the rantings of a callow youth. She felt my reasoning was unsound. Reader, she married him.
He made her life miserable for a few years with his moping, moody belligerence (and playing horrendous records like these). He told her lies and generally behaved like a platinum c*nt. Then he dumped her for his mistress when my sister was four months pregnant.
It’s now nearly 20 years later and I would still like to take a meat tenderizer to his face. But his most horrendous crime, worse than wiring up my granny’s shower so it was electrically live, worse even than his infidelity or the awful way he treated my sister, was the fact that he actually liked the abomination known as Jazz Funk. Here is the evidence. What a bastard.
Well, I suppose I’d better tell you what’s for sale, though why you would actually want to own this dreck is beyond me. It’s basically music for people who have a deep-seated hatred of music and want to inflict their pain on the world. But here goes nothing.
(long list of records)
I mean, Shakatak for fucks sake. What a prick. And surely he must have realised that buying anything by Shalimar would open him up to ridicule. Even those bands’ mothers couldn’t bear to listen to that stuff. I know I couldn’t. None of this is play graded, only visually. I just could not bring myself to dirty my stylus with this bollocks.
Boring stuff: – I grade conservatively, particularly when I don’t like the records. Don’t ask me to split this lot. You buy it, you buy all of it and pay the shipping. I’m not keeping it in my house any longer than strictly neccessary. For the same reason, no returns. I don’t want it back. Shipping in UK is £15 because the weight is approx 10kg . I’m willing to ship overseas at cost, but it’s likely to be expensive (maybe £45 in europe) and frankly this crap isn’t worth the stamps. If you want to collect from Croydon, that’s OK but I will look at you with a contemptuous sneer as you stand in my doorway, proving by your purchase that you are tone deaf and tasteless.
Good luck, and God help you for liking this drivel.”