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  • FIRST POST
    HMRC representative
    Online sellers offered chance to settle tax bills
    • #1
    • 27th Mar 12, 12:06 PM
    Online sellers offered chance to settle tax bills 27th Mar 12 at 12:06 PM
    If you’re selling online and haven’t paid all the tax you owe, you’re being offered the chance to come forward under the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) e-marketplaces campaign.

    Under this time-limited opportunity, online marketplace traders can pay the tax, duties and interest they owe and benefit from lower penalties available, than those who wait for HMRC to catch up with them.

    Who does it apply to?
    The e-marketplaces campaign is for people who are trading online through an online marketplace, sometimes referred to as an online auction or online market to sell goods and services as a trade or as a business but aren't paying the right amount of tax and duties.

    Those who only sell a few items and who are not traders are unlikely to be liable to pay tax on what they sell, and will not be targeted by this campaign.

    How do I know if HMRC considers me to be trading?
    You can find more information on whether HMRC considers you to be trading on the HMRC website at http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/campaigns/emarket.htm

    There is also a video which explains whether buying and selling on an e-marketplace website can be seen as trading http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uptdjVD2LgI

    HMRC is also holding a Twitter Q&A on the e-marketplace campaign on 28 March between 3 and 4pm. Follow us @HMRCgovuk (http://twitter.com/#!/hmrcgovuk) and tag your question #emqa.

    What does the campaign involve?
    Online traders can come forward at any time between 14 March and 14 June to tell HMRC they want to take part. They then have until 14 September to give details of the tax and duties owed and arrange for full payment, including any interest and penalty due. If they make a full disclosure before 14 September, some will pay no penalty at all, with most receiving a penalty of no more than 10 per cent of the tax owed.

    After that date HMRC will begin to contact those who have failed to respond. The department has recruited additional investigators and will pursue those who have failed to declare their earnings and pay up. Penalties of up to 100 per cent of the tax owed or even a criminal investigation could follow.

    How do people take part in the campaign if they think they may need to make a disclosure?



    To take part:
    • People must register with HMRC to "notify" that they plan to make a voluntary tax disclosure by 14 June
    • Once they have done that, they have until 14 September to tell HMRC about tax due and make arrangements to pay any tax interest and penalties owed. This is called "making a disclosure".
    You can do you this by:
    Your feedback
    We’re keen to have your questions and feedback on the campaign. We will read responses posted in this thread, however we cannot promise to reply to every post.

    Kam
    HMRC Press Office
    Last edited by HMRC representative; 27-03-2012 at 3:55 PM.
    Follow us on twitter @HMRCgovuk

    Official Company Representative
    I am the official representative of HMRC. MSE has given permission for me to post in response to queries, so that I can help solve issues. You can see my name on the companies with permission to post list. I am not allowed to tout for business at all. If you believe I am please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com This does NOT imply any form of approval of my company or its products by MSE"
Page 1
    • soolin
    • By soolin 27th Mar 12, 12:29 PM
    • 62,969 Posts
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    soolin
    • #2
    • 27th Mar 12, 12:29 PM
    • #2
    • 27th Mar 12, 12:29 PM
    Can I please just draw attention to this bit:

    Or, by phoning HMRC on 0845 601 2944. A dedicated team is available to take your call.

    If there really are people taking calls then I would suggest that phoning with any questions might be a good idea. HMRC rep are there still workshops being run for new businesses or has that now ceased? I remember being offered a short day course on basic accounting and what was required free of charge when I first registered.
    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 forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com (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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    • soolin
    • By soolin 27th Mar 12, 12:31 PM
    • 62,969 Posts
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    soolin
    • #3
    • 27th Mar 12, 12:31 PM
    • #3
    • 27th Mar 12, 12:31 PM
    Also can I ask whether you are working with any sites to get their assistance with this campaign. There is a thread running currently suggesting that ebay in particular do nothing when unregulated traders are reported to them. (Although I accept this is not just aimed at ebay sellers)
    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 forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com (it's not part of my role to deal with this). Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com
    New to Forum? Guide
    • StaffsSW
    • By StaffsSW 27th Mar 12, 1:00 PM
    • 5,550 Posts
    • 5,826 Thanks
    StaffsSW
    • #4
    • 27th Mar 12, 1:00 PM
    • #4
    • 27th Mar 12, 1:00 PM
    Is that the collective sound of "But I'm not really a business" I can hear being muttered across the MSE boards...

  • HMRC representative
    • #5
    • 28th Mar 12, 12:39 PM
    • #5
    • 28th Mar 12, 12:39 PM
    Thanks for the interest!

    We’ll be answering questions in a live @HMRCgovuk Twitter Q&A today at 3pm. You can send questions using #emqa.

    We’ll post the relevant answers on here too.
    Follow us on twitter @HMRCgovuk

    Official Company Representative
    I am the official representative of HMRC. MSE has given permission for me to post in response to queries, so that I can help solve issues. You can see my name on the companies with permission to post list. I am not allowed to tout for business at all. If you believe I am please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com This does NOT imply any form of approval of my company or its products by MSE"
    • soolin
    • By soolin 29th Mar 12, 10:15 PM
    • 62,969 Posts
    • 45,343 Thanks
    soolin
    • #6
    • 29th Mar 12, 10:15 PM
    • #6
    • 29th Mar 12, 10:15 PM
    Just bumping in case this is getting missed by people
    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 forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com (it's not part of my role to deal with this). Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com
    New to Forum? Guide
  • Strapped
    • #7
    • 29th Mar 12, 11:45 PM
    • #7
    • 29th Mar 12, 11:45 PM
    Call me cynical, but I really can't see anyone volunteering for this. Not judging by the blatant "oh but I'm not a business" posts on this board day after day.
    They deem him their worst enemy who tells them the truth. -- Plato
    • antrobus
    • By antrobus 30th Mar 12, 8:01 AM
    • 16,899 Posts
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    antrobus
    • #8
    • 30th Mar 12, 8:01 AM
    • #8
    • 30th Mar 12, 8:01 AM
    Call me cynical, but I really can't see anyone volunteering for this. Not judging by the blatant "oh but I'm not a business" posts on this board day after day.
    Originally posted by Strapped
    HMRC regularly run various campaigns on a similar basis.

    Last year they targetted plumbers - see Plumbers Tax Safe Plan. Apparently 600 people fessed up and settled. HMRC then went after another 500 suspects. The 600 would have got a better deal than the 500.

    That's normally the way these things work. When HMRC announce a campaign it's because they've already got a target list of suspects. The point of the campaign is to get as many as possible to volunteer themselves, so they can concentrate their resources on the others.
  • Strapped
    • #9
    • 30th Mar 12, 11:58 AM
    • #9
    • 30th Mar 12, 11:58 AM
    HMRC regularly run various campaigns on a similar basis.

    Last year they targetted plumbers - see Plumbers Tax Safe Plan. Apparently 600 people fessed up and settled. HMRC then went after another 500 suspects. The 600 would have got a better deal than the 500.

    That's normally the way these things work. When HMRC announce a campaign it's because they've already got a target list of suspects. The point of the campaign is to get as many as possible to volunteer themselves, so they can concentrate their resources on the others.
    Originally posted by antrobus
    There must be thousands of eBayers who owe tax.
    They deem him their worst enemy who tells them the truth. -- Plato
    • sequence
    • By sequence 30th Mar 12, 12:26 PM
    • 1,835 Posts
    • 1,428 Thanks
    sequence
    What if you've been trading as a small business undeclared but don't owe tax (below the threshold )?
  • HMRC representative
    Thanks to all of those who took part in the Live twitter Q&A on Wednesday. For those who are interested in a transcript, we have created a Storify blog post here.

    Those questions that we didn’t get time to answer on Twitter, we’ll try to answer soon.

    We hope to do another Q&A towards the end of the campaign in June.
    Follow us on twitter @HMRCgovuk

    Official Company Representative
    I am the official representative of HMRC. MSE has given permission for me to post in response to queries, so that I can help solve issues. You can see my name on the companies with permission to post list. I am not allowed to tout for business at all. If you believe I am please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com This does NOT imply any form of approval of my company or its products by MSE"
    • antrobus
    • By antrobus 30th Mar 12, 2:31 PM
    • 16,899 Posts
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    antrobus
    There must be thousands of eBayers who owe tax.
    Originally posted by Strapped
    Possibly.

    What if you've been trading as a small business undeclared but don't owe tax (below the threshold )?
    Originally posted by sequence
    If the small business is 'undeclared' it is very likely that flat-rate national insurance contributions will be owed (plus fines) even when no tax is owed.

    Besides 'not making enough profit' isn't an excuse for not completing a tax return.
    • pseudopensioner
    • By pseudopensioner 30th Mar 12, 4:15 PM
    • 615 Posts
    • 243 Thanks
    pseudopensioner
    Are you 'trading' or not? The whole scenario is a little ambigous to me.
    Is the man or woman who attends say three carboot sales in one month to dispose of superflous items deemed to be a trader? Actual monies obtained, are they profit?

    Can you dispose of your superflous items on Ebay once a week, twice a year without being a trader/business?

    Can't remember the last time I sold at a car boot sale, must be more than five years ago when moving house and the cost to 'remove' certain items was more than their worth., so bought new after moving. However, I have recently sold on Ebay , items being a part of something I purchased for my own use, a couple of years ago and what I have sold were subsequently surplus to my requirements Sales on Ebay may ultimately afford me a profit given the original purchase price. Does this make me a trader/business?

    Are we looking at overall numbers of sales or overall monies received within a certain time scale?

    I've been a member of Ebay for about six years and buy far more than I sell, Feedback is just over 200 so not a big seller. My selling two 3 seater Chesterfield sofa's for about 99p (cash on collection) I'm sure won't raise any warning flags. However, 4 years ago I purchased an item (300 pieces shall we say) for my own use, it was far cheaper per unit to buy the 300 than to purchase them individually. To date I have used roughly a half of them, may ultimately use more, but , if I now choose to sell the remainder on Ebay and there is a profit, am I a trader/business?

    I'm sure the 'private' sellers who are truly operating a business know that they are trading outside of the law. I don't condone this, but thought I'd raise the questions above to hopefully add a little clarity for the genuine private sellers.
    • antrobus
    • By antrobus 30th Mar 12, 4:41 PM
    • 16,899 Posts
    • 23,894 Thanks
    antrobus
    ...
    Is the man or woman who attends say three carboot sales in one month to dispose of superflous items deemed to be a trader? ...
    Originally posted by pseudopensioner
    No

    .
    Can you dispose of your superflous items on Ebay once a week, twice a year without being a trader/business?
    Originally posted by pseudopensioner
    Yes


    .. I have recently sold on Ebay , items being a part of something I purchased for my own use, a couple of years ago and what I have sold were subsequently surplus to my requirements Sales on Ebay may ultimately afford me a profit given the original purchase price. Does this make me a trader/business?
    Originally posted by pseudopensioner
    No

    Are we looking at overall numbers of sales or overall monies received within a certain time scale?
    Originally posted by pseudopensioner
    Yes, that is something that HMRC will consider.

    .., 4 years ago I purchased an item (300 pieces shall we say) for my own use, it was far cheaper per unit to buy the 300 than to purchase them individually. To date I have used roughly a half of them, may ultimately use more, but , if I now choose to sell the remainder on Ebay and there is a profit, am I a trader/business?
    Originally posted by pseudopensioner
    On the whole, no. So long as you're talking about 300 rolex watches, or something of that kind.


    .
    I'm sure the 'private' sellers who are truly operating a business know that they are trading outside of the law....
    Originally posted by pseudopensioner
    I'm pretty sure of that as well.
  • Ambit miffed
    There isn't going to be any kind of black and white rule which dictates if you are a trader or not.

    However,

    There will be cases where people cleary are, for any grey area cases, we will need someone with a bit of common sense to review the situation independantly (god help us)

    I would assume that there would be some kind of unofficial, rule of thumb criteria that HMRC would be using to pull off an initial list from the like of ebay etc. Lets say anyone who sells over X items per week, continuously for X weeks, which generates at least X amount of income.

    I'm sure it will be a prioritised approach, the more you sell and the more income you make, the more tax you owe and therefore the greater the benefit of you being targeted first.
    • antrobus
    • By antrobus 30th Mar 12, 4:44 PM
    • 16,899 Posts
    • 23,894 Thanks
    antrobus
    There isn't going to be any kind of black and white rule which dictates if you are a trader or not.

    ....
    Originally posted by Ambit miffed
    Not sure whether the'd qualify as 'rules', but HMRC have a lot of material on the subject. They call it 'badges of trade', and have a whole manual on the subject. See http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/bimmanual/bim20205.htm - the summary is quite useful.
    • brettcta
    • By brettcta 30th Mar 12, 4:47 PM
    • 3,739 Posts
    • 3,570 Thanks
    brettcta
    what's the deal where VAT has already been paid on an item?

    i.e. i buy X number of items from somewhere and VAT has been paid there and then. does VAT then apply again to the item or is it applied to the profit made on the items?
    helpful tips
    it's spelt d-e-f-i-n-i-t-e-l-y
    there - 'in or at that place'
    their - 'owned by them'
    they're - 'they are'
    it's bought not brought (i just bought my chicken a suit from that new shop for £6.34)
    • JCS1
    • By JCS1 30th Mar 12, 9:39 PM
    • 3,963 Posts
    • 7,965 Thanks
    JCS1
    what's the deal where VAT has already been paid on an item?

    i.e. i buy X number of items from somewhere and VAT has been paid there and then. does VAT then apply again to the item or is it applied to the profit made on the items?
    Originally posted by brettcta
    You can only charge VAT on items that you are selling if you are VAT registered (and assuming the item being sold is VATable anyway, books for example are zero rated)
    • macfly
    • By macfly 31st Mar 12, 7:18 AM
    • 2,689 Posts
    • 1,691 Thanks
    macfly
    "The department has recruited additional investigators and will pursue those who have failed to declare their earnings and pay up"
    Really? After making thousands of staff take early retirement?
    One in a thousand will be pulled if you're lucky.
  • Strapped
    "The department has recruited additional investigators and will pursue those who have failed to declare their earnings and pay up"
    Really? After making thousands of staff take early retirement?
    One in a thousand will be pulled if you're lucky.
    Originally posted by macfly
    That was kind of my thoughts too. (I'd actually welcome a crack-down because in my categories there are quite a few oh-i'm-not-a-business-really sellers).
    They deem him their worst enemy who tells them the truth. -- Plato
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