Telegraph: New eBay & PayPal tax crackdown

Death and TaxesThe front page of the Daily Telegraph will on Saturday carry a story about HMRC’s impending crackdown on eBay sellers in addition to smartphone app stores run by Apple and Google, holiday lettings sites and a raft of other online retail sites.

According to the article HMRC will be given new powers grab details of millions of online transaction en masse to target those who don’t declare their income from online selling.

The aim is to target businesses, although from previous HMRC fishing expeditions they’ve shown a remarkable ability to target businesses displaying their details online but a complete inability to compare the business credentials against company or personal tax returns. What HMRC haven’t demonstrated is an ability to target those masquerading as private sellers who actually are operating as a business and that’s where the biggest returns are likely to be.

Of course currently companies like eBay and Amazon have been very reluctant to hand their databases over in their entirety, although they’re more than willing to supply any individual record on request by the authorities. I would imagine that such proprietary information is the last thing these companies would want to hand over. Let’s not forget HMRC are the people who a few years back carelessly lost a couple of password protected CDs with the details of every child in the country along with their parents or carers personal data. It’s only last month concerns over tax payer privacy were raised over HMRC starting to use cloud based services from Google.

Aside from data loss concerns from the marketplaces, ultimately you’ve nothing to worry about if you declare and pay all your tax that’s due. If you rent a room out on Airbnb, make a living driving for Uber, sell from your website taking payments with PayPal or have written an App and earn from Apple or Google, all you have to do is to make sure you declare your income.

Finally a note to The Telegraph

Paypal, the online payment company owned by Ebay“… did you miss the news that PayPal is now a separate company. Also after 20 years it’s time to realise eBay is spelt with a lower case e and capital B.