eBay and Amazon seller VAT evasion to be discussed in Parliament today

By Dan Wilson January 14, 2016 - 8:21 am

The issue isn’t going away and today the problem of overseas sellers evading VAT on marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon reaches Westminster.

In brief: we’re talking about overseas traders on eBay and Amazon, often from China, seemingly not paying VAT as you would expect and that offering a commercial advantage over UK businesses paying their way.

We’ve written about the so-called ‘Chinese seller‘ problem quite a lot previously. And we know plenty of readers are keen to see a level playing field restored with FairPlay from HMRC and the marketplaces.

There will be a debate by MPs in the “Westminster Hall” forum led by Conservative MP Chris Heaton-Harris and the order paper bills it as “VAT evasion and internet retailers“.

Westminster Hall offers an opportunity for MPs to raise issues that otherwise may not get Parliamentary time in the Commons. So whilst it is a shame that this concern isn’t currently getting a hearing in the main chamber, it is good news that it is registering in Parliament. Indeed readers in the Daventry constituency of Chris Heaton-Harris would be well advised to get in touch with him, and register their support and share their experiences, about the problems that VAT avoiding overseas seller cause their business.

We’ll report back on how the discussion goes.

  • ifellow
    2 years ago

    It’s pretty sad though really how government doesn’t really care about this issue.

    Isn’t it?

    But I suppose it’s more important to make sure London housing rises 10 per cent a year and enabling policies around it.

  • Mark Sugden
    2 years ago

    Not only are the Chinese blatantly flouting our VAT rules on UK fulfillment but they’re actively defrauding UK companies too. The government need to toughen up and stop making it so easy.

    I was informed yesterday that a Chinese company were trying to use our VAT details to import 2 pallets of stock worth over £3k so they didn’t have to pay the VAT on import.

    • ifellow
      2 years ago

      ‘Westminster Hall offers an opportunity for MPs to raise issues that otherwise may not get Parliamentary time in the Commons.’

      Says it all really.

    • glenn
      2 years ago

      i wonder if customs still let the pallets in , i wouldnt be suprised , the whole system is one big joke
      maybe we should all just open chinese ebay accounts and do the same and pay no vat for selling goods in the uk , i bet HMRC will do something about it then

    • ifellow
      2 years ago

      The forwarder will try and sell the good in the UK to recover shipping or other fees. Sometimes depending on the paperwork situation the exporter can also sell or move the goods somewhere else. Rarely they will be ‘seized’ by customs.

  • Gerry007
    2 years ago

    I know this effects us online sellers, but ‘out there’ in the big BM world there are so many UK firms at it too.

    Small?? shops that should be registered for VAT, taking 000’s ££ Cash each week that never gets declared……

    A Small business near us, who have 6 full time employees (YES 6) + the owners, is NOT registered for VAT……
    Assuming the owner employs the staff on a minimum wage @ arounf £7.50p per hour 40 hour week = £300 pw x 6 = £1800 per week x 52 = £93,600 per annum JUST IN WAGES, work it out….

    VAT threashold £82K per annum turnover!!

    • glenn
      2 years ago

      i agree not just chinese sellers commiting fraud , i asked one ebay seller with 5000 feedback a month for a vat invoice and was told no not vat registered even though i estimate turnover £750,000 per year
      i checked on companies house and they had 10 active limited companies and the same number dissolved in the past 2 years
      i guess using each account to keep under £80,000 VAT threshold
      i dont have access to sensitive information like HMRC so i can only guess

    • ifellow
      2 years ago

      MPs dont do online sales and pay vat, they do ‘buy to let’

      So don’t expect any changes any time soon.

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