That’s what Patrick O’Brien of HM Revenue & Customs told me this morning when I asked what advice he would give eBayers that haven’t registered to pay tax as an Internet Trader. He emphasised that the tax office are not interested in people selling off unwanted Christmas presents but are encouraging traders to register to pay Income Tax, National Insurance and VAT if applicable.
The key point is to register, because if you don’t you will get caught! Not only do they have the new Xenon spider checking your auctions but they have countless other means of tracking you down. However they will look kindly on you coming forward and registering. If you contact them before they come calling for you it will be important in mitigating any tax and penalties due. There will be far more punitive penalties for those that do not register but get caught at a later date.
Patrick went to great pains to point out that even if you failed to register when you started trading (buying to sell), they will do everything they can to assist you with the process, help complete your tax return, and of course work out what tax and penalities you owe. By you contacting them they’ll do their best to assist you and make the process as painless and friendly as possible.
A word of warning for those still wondering whether to register or not, Patrick pointed out that if they catch you not only will they pursue you for the full tax and all penalties owed, but they will also levy a fine equal to 100% of the tax owed. You’ll end up paying twice!
Finally Patrick told me “There is nothing to be afraid of”, registering with HMRC and putting your affairs in order isn’t that hard, and he really is a friendly, easy to speak to person. We know there are a lot of you out there reading this article, we’ve seen the amount of traffic to TameBay on our other articles talking about tax. If you are wondering if you should be paying tax, phone HMRC on 0845 915 4515 right now and they’ll be friendly to you too 😀