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

By Dan Wilson February 29, 2016 - 11:09 am

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.

  • 12 months ago

    I wish ebay and amazon make Vat mandatory as a part of registration. But of course this means barring a lot of sellers.

    • Gareth
      12 months ago

      And what of all the many thousands of genuine self-employed business sellers who operate below the VAT threshold?

  • ifellow
    12 months ago

    I have lost all hope on this, and with VAT increases rumoured and the £ at record lows. I.e UK sellers pay more duties. Things will get worse.

  • criticalcricketcritic
    12 months ago

    As a suggestion would it not be good for Tamebay to also ask both marketplaces for their comment on this matter.

    Tamebay is more aware than other news outlets about the costs of VAT evasion to honest UK sellers and may have better contacts within both companies than the general press release they gave the BBC and the Guardian before them.

  • 12 months ago

    I have been working on some software that will hopefully ease everybodys VAT issues with regards to selling on Amazon and eBay. will pull in all your sales and refunds from these channels and apply EU selling thresholds as well as any FBA shipment movements to calculate your correct VAT liability and to which EU tax office.

    I wish something like this was compulsory for Chinese sellers!

  • glenn
    12 months ago

    this is HMRC fault , they have been aware of the problem for years but have just ignored it , useless bunch of w***ers

  • Amj
    12 months ago

    This sort of thing has been going on for years
    I don’t think any significant action will be taken anytime soon
    Looks like the rules only apply to us small retailers.

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