Selling Whilst on Benefits?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Ebay, Auctions, Car Boot & Jumble Sales
19 replies 3.9K views
CarlBullockCarlBullock Forumite
6 Posts
Hi,

I am currently in receipt of Carer's Allowance for my mother and I occasionally sell on eBay or facebook (nominal amounts at the moment) however I want to get some clarification on what is and isn't allowed...

I grow lots of plants which I regularly trade (like for like) and sometimes sell currently at not much above what the P&P is to other hobbyists, however next year I would like to sell more cuttings and plants do I need to keep my monthly earnings below the Carers Allowance threshold still? or am I given a small amount of leeway for selling of personal possessions? would this be counted as selling possessions? obviously I have incurred costs when buying the cuttings which I started my own plants from (which I keep diligent records of) would I be entitled to recoup said costs under he rules of this benefit?

Many thanks,

Carl
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Replies

  • mrs_sparrowmrs_sparrow Forumite
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    Carl, if you are selling things on then you will be running a business - this means that you can recoup the costs of all things to do with running that business such as plants, compost, plant pots etc.... you need to keep proper records but you also need to register with HMRC as soon as you decide to start working for yourself otherwise you can get fined. It is relatively easy, you just call them.

    In regards to the carers allowance you can earn approximately £100 a year (I am not sure on the exact amounts, I think it has gone up to £102) before you lose your carers allowance. If you call them to let them know you are doing it they will want to see your books, however, as long as you keep any earnings (that is profit, not what money you have bought in - income less expenses = profit) then just carry on as you are.

    It is hard to find the time to run a full time business and be a carer and I am in the same situation you are, I claim carers allowance and work for myself.

    I hope this is useful. Good luck in your little venture. I would not be without my little business, it keeps me sane when times are otherwise hard and it gives me something else to do.
  • ~~Diane~~~~Diane~~ Forumite
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    Carl, if you are selling things on then you will be running a business - this means that you can recoup the costs of all things to do with running that business such as plants, compost, plant pots etc.... you need to keep proper records but you also need to register with HMRC as soon as you decide to start working for yourself otherwise you can get fined. It is relatively easy, you just call them.

    In regards to the carers allowance you can earn approximately £100 a year (I am not sure on the exact amounts, I think it has gone up to £102) before you lose your carers allowance. If you call them to let them know you are doing it they will want to see your books, however, as long as you keep any earnings (that is profit, not what money you have bought in - income less expenses = profit) then just carry on as you are.

    It is hard to find the time to run a full time business and be a carer and I am in the same situation you are, I claim carers allowance and work for myself.

    I hope this is useful. Good luck in your little venture. I would not be without my little business, it keeps me sane when times are otherwise hard and it gives me something else to do.


    That's a week not a year.
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  • soolinsoolin Forumite, Board Guide
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    One word of warning, I would really do everything 'by the book' in this scenario and keep very good records to show all your expenses etc .

    The reason I say that is that I have volunteered on and off for a charity and some of the people I spoke to Informally ( eBay was not part of my remit!) had been caught by the DWP. I have mentioned on here a lot that I personally believe a person is more likely to run into problems with DWP than with HMRC.

    There is a backlash against people claiming any sort of benefit and as such there is a readiness to report them if to looks like they are getting something they are not entitled to. If you have good records this is not a problem, as long as you stick to the limits.

    Many of the people I knew though were trading and not declaring, or under declaring. Most strangely enough had been turned in by close friends or family members.
    I'm the Board Guide for the Ebay Board , Charities Board , Dosh & Disability , Up Your Income and the Local MoneySaving-England board which means I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. However, do remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to [email protected] (it's not part of my role to deal with this). Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com
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  • harveybobblesharveybobbles Forumite
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    Any other benefits or is just CA you claim? If its just CA, then once your "earnings" go over the £102 weekly figure, then stop claiming. Your entitlement to CA will still be there, just not in reciept of it.
  • martindowmartindow Forumite
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    If you keep track of your expenses and income I think you may find that it is a hobby rather than a business. It is very easy to get excited when money comes in and to overlook what has been spent. It would only be a potential problem if you are making a profit.

    As has been said keep detailed records to cover yourself in case this is flagged up by someone you know or by Ebay.
  • fishybusinessfishybusiness Forumite
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    however next year I would like to sell more cuttings and plants

    As said keep a track on what you actually sell.
    am I given a small amount of leeway for selling of personal possessions

    Are they personal possessions? Once you say you would like to sell more next year, I'd say you are either moving towards making money or taking up more of your time as a hobby. I guess you need to work out which it is and stick to it.
    am I given a small amount of leeway for selling of personal possessions

    No one is really interested if that is all you are doing. What if you start to sell more personal possessions, and the value and number of personal possession trades increases? Do you then have more possessions, of higher value? I wonder if that could be classed as trading due to an increase of 'assets' that technically you could liquidate?
    I have incurred costs when buying the cuttings which I started my own plants from (which I keep diligent records of) would I be entitled to recoup said costs under he rules of this benefit?

    Absolutely.

    Re: Carers Allowance, if you do find you are making money, and it is more than pocket money, you ought to declare it to the CA. They will send you a form to fill in, 3 monthly I think, defining your earnings. They like to keep track of it, which is fair enough.
  • George_MichaelGeorge_Michael Forumite
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    martindow wrote: »
    If you keep track of your expenses and income I think you may find that it is a hobby rather than a business. It is very easy to get excited when money comes in and to overlook what has been spent. It would only be a potential problem if you are making a profit.

    Even if not making a profit, in the eyes of the HMRC you can still be classed as running a business if your intention was to make a profit and as such, you should be registered with both ebay and HMRC as a business seller.
    This could lead to complications or delays with benefit payments whilst the actual profits or turnover of the business are looked at by the DWP.
  • mrcol1000mrcol1000 Forumite
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    I know someone who runs an Ebay business and claims Carers allowance with no problems. They applied for Carers Allowance AFTER starting a business and were asked to supply the accounts they supplied to HMRC.

    Your earnings would be over 52 weeks rather than weekly. So if you earnt £100 one week then it would not mean that you would have to cancel your claim. But if you regularly earnt over the £100 every week then you would have to cancel the claim. Do not forget the £100 is profit after expenses like product, post, packaging. You also can claim millage expenses for any journeys you did for the business in your car. Also you can claim an hourly allowance if you run the business from home. All this reduces your profit.

    DWP would need to see your accounts every year. It does not sound like you would be earning over the £100 a week and am guessing this is seasonal so once it is all averaged out you would be okay. Like everyone else says though you would need to register with HMRC and inform DWP.

    If you are not sure why not ring DWP or try and contact the person that made the original decision for clarification.
  • RFWRFW Forumite
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    Even if not making a profit, in the eyes of the HMRC you can still be classed as running a business if your intention was to make a profit and as such, you should be registered with both ebay and HMRC as a business seller.
    This could lead to complications or delays with benefit payments whilst the actual profits or turnover of the business are looked at by the DWP.
    If you buy to sell, make to sell or as the OP, grow to sell then you are a business. This may or may not affect benefits and tax, the best thing is to ask HMRC and DWP. Once you have the information from them then if anything goes wrong you can point to them telling you.
    .
  • mrs_sparrowmrs_sparrow Forumite
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    ~~Diane~~ wrote: »
    That's a week not a year.

    Ooooooooooops, yes sorry. Too early when I posted. :o
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