HMRC will soon be able to check your eBay account...

10 December 2015

online_shopping--We have often wondered aloud when HMRC have announced they are targetting eBay businesses as to whether HMRC had access to Paypal records- as after all how else would they be able to tie up eBay user FrillyKnickers123 with that respectable librarian in Barnstaple who does a sideline in selling second-hand electricals.

Now, new legislation has been drafted that would mean HMRC are completely entitled to nosy into not only your Paypal info, but your eBay (or Gumtree or Etsy or any other kind of online selling platform) as well in order to ascertain whether there is a hidden trade being carried on. The rules, which will be amended through the Finance Act 2016, expand previous data collection powers already held by HMRC since 2011 to include "electronic payment service providers" and "business intermediaries".

While the first is perhaps obvious, and if banks and the like were already subject to these data gathering powers, it makes sense that electronic-only providers of payment services are also caught. The second category, business intermediaries, covers those who "facilitate and enable transactions between suppliers and their customer or clients" hold "valuable information about the volume and value of suppliers’ transactions."

The proposed changes do follow a consultation period, and while everyone wants to help prevent tax evasion, some were concerned about the evergrowing Big Brotherness invasiveness of HMRC's powers. However, HMRC claims to have "evidence that many such suppliers currently underpay, or do not pay at all, appropriate tax on the income generated from these transactions", which is probably fairly likely, and should, at least, catch the dodgy traders; it is estimated that the change will generate additional revenue of £285 million per annum by 2020/21. Although it does mean that you might find yourself having to pay more for your bits of tat if the sellers actually have to start accounting for VAT, for example.

If you are struggling with insomnia, the draft legislation can be found here, but if you are an eBay trader who is correctly declaring all income, there's nothing to worry about right? Right?


  • Alexis
    Meanwhile Cadbury's scheme is deemed kosher.
  • Nick
    how about you go after people like vodaphone and get them to pay the taxes they ow instead of letting them off the hock.
  • Steve
    Sorry I don't like the idea of that privacy please
  • Norm
    Trade - being the operative word. Just selling stuff on Ebay is ok and no tax would be due. Its when you start buying and selling or when you have a shop on Ebay that HMRC would want to get involved. Most people wouldn’t have a problem.
  • The H.
    Nothing to worry about for the normal seller, only shops and trade
  • Fagin
    sort out vodaphone, ebay, pay-pal, amazon, starbucks, boots ....& many more corrupt corporations first! ..when there is parity (hah) folk wouldn't mind so. But HMRC won't will they!? ((NO))
  • Martin
    They don't owe any taxes Nick, they've paid everything they've been asked you. What you mean if why can't they be made to pay more tax.
  • Jessie J.
    Gumtree. Merry Xmas.

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