MP says HMRC “missing in action” on marketplace VAT evasion

MP Chris Heaton-Harris has described HMRC as being “missing in action” when it comes to tackling overseas sellers, often from China, who appear to be evading VAT.

Heaton-Harris has already raised his concerns in Parliament and didn’t limit his criticism to HMRC. He also said he thought that Amazon and eBay could be doing much more.

The comment came as part of a Radio 5 programme that considered the issue recently. Adrian Goldberg’s show specialises in investigations and it’s a useful contribution to the debate about sellers from overseas seemingly flouting VAT rules to get ahead.

It’s well worth a listen and one of the salient issues that I don’t think gets enough attention, that of how the goods seem to be able to enter the country at a knock down import rate, is also addressed. They also talk to an online seller and buy from a Chinese seller and try to get a VAT receipt.

So, it’s good news that this ongoing issue is getting media attention and that there are politicians that are interested in pursuing it. But it remains slow going and it would be good to learn of positive progress soon.