Next chapter in eBay UK’s Chinese sellers and VAT dispute

The Daily Mirror has published a follow up to its previous story regarding Chinese sellers and the payment of UK VAT on their UK sales. It’s called: These Chinese sellers on eBay should be paying VAT – so why are they listing other people’s VAT numbers?

The article by Andrew Penman comes two weeks after an initial investigation: VAT evading Chinese firms are wiping out British business.

Yesterday Penman said: “As if by magic VAT numbers have been suddenly appearing on the eBay pages of Chinese sellers since my exposé about foreign tax avoiders.” And it does seem that there has been some movement.

And as eBay say:

“We understand that all of the Chinese sellers previously mentioned in the Daily Mirror were issued with UK VAT registration numbers. We do not comment on an individual seller’s tax affairs and do not have access to their detailed tax records which are held with the tax authorities. We are looking into the eBay listings of these sellers to make sure they comply with our policies.”

It seems that there is some progress here but equally it’s not going to delight many reputable eBay sellers. I’d say that it’s taking time to work through the system at HMRC and we know how long such organisation can take take before action.

It will be interesting to see whether eBay’s policy check on these sellers makes a difference, but in the meantime the best action when it comes to any sellers possibly avoiding VAT is to report them to HMRC.