HMRC e-Markets Disclosure – Success or Failure?

The deadline of the 14th June for voluntary disclosure under the HMRC e-Markets campaign has passed. We hear that in addition to the initial 32,000 letters that were sent out that somewhere in excess of another 100,000 letters have been sent.

The question is how effective was the campaign? The only people we’ve heard from so far that were contacted were those already registered as Business Sellers on eBay. We’ve yet to hear from a seller who is registered as a Private Seller on eBay that received the letter. The sellers who are running legitimate businesses who have declared their income and paid their tax bills but still received the letters are not the people who the campaign was aimed at.

I’ve heard stories of many people who have come forward and made voluntary disclosure, some of whom probably were registered as Private eBay sellers. The people really of interest though are businesses masquerading as Private Sellers – did any of them receive a letter from HMRC?

What happens next?

When I received the letter I gave HMRC a quick phone call with my tax references and once they had my VAT number and could see I had paid my last VAT bill the guy on the phone lost all interest in me. If you didn’t get in touch with HMRC should you now be expecting a follow up letter or phone call? If you have had a follow up we’d love to know. Currently although HMRC say they have data on well over 100,000 people trading online they’ve not given any indication of how they’re cross checking them with their list of tax payers or what method they’re using to follow up those they suspect might not be disclosing their income.

Even if you’re a fully paid up member of the tax paying brigade, if you got the original letter let us know if you have any follow up correspondence with HMRC. Now that the time limit has passed we’re watching eagerly to see the campaign swing into action to start clamping down on those traders who are competing unfairly by not paying taxes due so any indications that HMRC are chasing up traders who they’ve not confirmed are paying tax would welcome news.

We’d especially love to hear from you if:

– You’re registered as a Private eBay Seller and received the original HMRC letter (whether or not you’re liable for, or have already paid, any tax)
– You received the original HMRC letter and have had a second contact from HMRC
– You know anyone who was not paying tax and didn’t voluntarily declare their income who HMRC have subsequently contacted

We don’t need or want any personal details, we’d just be interested to gauge how targeted the campaign was and how effective it is now that it’s in the follow up phase.

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Comments

I made a disclosure about eBay sales over the past couple of years, however I know two other sellers who should have registered but didn't take the chance. Neither got a first letter, and neither have had any subsequent contact. Have there additional 100k letters been sent out already? Pretty quick if so...almost unheard of where hmrc is concerned.

Steve • 4th July 2012 •

If hmrc are trying to claw back 4 billion or whatever it was by the next budget in 2013 does that mean they will discontinue pursuing after this? Or will they be working on catching people on a regular basis as part of their day to day job? As they have probably set up a team to specifically catch people.. I think even those who haven't come forward, then they will probably get a follow up if not soon, then probably within next 5-10 years if your still trading and not paying the tax owed. In other words you will end up paying your life savings away to hmrc by the time you have added in all the fines...

Sarah • 4th July 2012 •

all this tosh only catches the every day regular honest type bloke, the real tax dodgers just devise another way to beat the system

st georges dragon • 4th July 2012 •

Hmrc will be to busy dealing with the sprats they have enticed, if the letter worked

st georges dragon • 4th July 2012 •

I must say, I have never been called a sprat before :) Mind you, I never got a letter, so what does that make me?

Steve • 5th July 2012 •

one of thouse regular honest type of guys that these things are designed to suck in?

st georges dragon • 5th July 2012 •

Sounds better than Sprat :p lol

Steve • 5th July 2012 •

Any update Chris? Just wondering if anyone has been in touch outside the comments section?

Steve • 10th July 2012 •

Not a single contact Steve. I'd still love to find just one Private eBay Seller that received the letter but if there are any they're staying very very quiet!

Chris Dawson • 10th July 2012 •

No reason to stay quiet though really, is there?. Unless they really are in deep financial trouble and are keeping a low profile Anyway, I guess we will never really know how successful the campaign was unless HMRC publicise some statistics or noteworthy cases

Steve • 10th July 2012 •