More details on Budget 2016 re VAT Fraud on eBay and Amazon

Here’s a bit more detail on the VAT fraud situation, specifically relating to online marketplaces, from yesterday’s Budget.

And it’s not ideal. We’ll be waiting for this year’s Finance Bill to pass (the Budget Bill) for some powers to come into force. Others will fall into the Finance Bill 2017 and other initiatives won’t come into force until 2018.

And we suspect that means we won’t see any real action any time soon. Governments just don’t work quickly

We wrote about the Budget on Wednesday with regards to non-EU sellers not playing fair on VAT on eBay and Amazon marketplace sales in a piece called: Budget 2016: eBay and Amazon “can be made liable” for seller VAT fraud. But with Budgets the devil is in the detail and it looms like we’re going to be waiting until HMRC swoop into action and eBay, Amazon and others are forced to respond and act.

Here’s the full blurb verbatim from this page (clause: 7.26)

“VAT: consultation on penalty for participating in VAT fraud – The government will consult on a new penalty for participating in VAT fraud in spring 2016. Subject to the consultation, the intention is to legislate in Finance Bill 2017.

VAT: tackling online fraud in goods – VAT representatives and online marketplace liability – The government will legislate to provide HMRC with strengthened powers for directing the appointment of a VAT representative and greater flexibility in respect of seeking a security, and enable HMRC to hold an online marketplace jointly and severally liable for the unpaid VAT of an overseas business that sells goods in the UK via the online marketplace’s website. (Finance Bill 2016)

VAT: Fulfilment House Due Diligence Scheme – The government has published a consultation on the ‘fit and proper’ standards that fulfilment houses will need to meet in order to operate. Fulfilment houses will have an obligation to register and maintain accurate records once online registration opens in 2018. They will also have to provide evidence of the due diligence they have undertaken to ensure overseas clients are following VAT rules. The consultation will be used to minimise as far as possible any costs for legitimate businesses.”

So, it won’t pay to get too excited just yet. We’ll keep you posted.