eBay to refund all fees for VAT affected listings

No primary category set

eBay have just announced that they will to enable sellers to update multiple quantity fixed price listings with the new VAT rates.

To qualify for the refunds UK sellers must be business or VAT registered, the listing must be a multiple quantity fixed price listing and and it must be manually ended and then re-listed to update the VAT information between Tuesday 25th Nov 2008 and Friday 5th Dec 2008. For qualifying listings eBay will refund both the Insertion and Feature fees.

On the eBay give further explanation explaining that they’ve been working to update the site automatically but it’s simply not been possible to achieve this in the short period since the Pre-Budget report announced the VAT changes. Hopefully by the time the next VAT change takes effect on 1st January 2010 there will be an easier way to adjust VAT rates on the site.

There will be no need to apply for refunds, they will automatically be credited through the normal invoice process.

Although it still leaves sellers with a fair amount of work to do to update all their listings over the weekend at least they won’t be penalised financially on listing and insertion fees. Those who have multiple listings with the more expensive enhancements such as Featured First can breathe a sigh of relief that their fees will be refunded.

If you’ve been delaying updating your listings but now intend to take advantage of the relist credits we’ve written a check list for changing the VAT rates on auctions and fixed price items to make the process as painless as possible.

30 Responses

  1. #1 Because it’s going to cost them an absolute fortune in fees πŸ˜‰

    To be honest updating the site is a nightmare at the best of times – normally takes weeks of testing prior to a scheduled roll out during planned maintenance. If they’d tried to rush it out they’d have just broken something by releasing a not fully tested fix – probably wake up Monday to find SMP invoicing was knackered or similar.

    At least we’ve now got the ability to bulk edit/end and relist and get on with the job without losing out on fees. Still not ideal, but then I guess it was the government, not eBay that decided to make the change. Hopefully by Jan 2010 there’ll be a full fix in place for the future πŸ˜€

  2. Whats the best method to check you have recieved the correct refund? If I end 344 listings tonight and relist will they credit this months bill and how will I know its correct? how am I supposed to remember how much each one cost?

    Sorry, probably pretty basic stuff but eBay is asking me to take there word for it that they will refund, I believe them, I just wonder what will happen to the mainframe when all these refunds go through….hope they have plenty of coal to stoke the generator.

    I am still waiting for seller rewards(whatever it was called) to pay up ffs, that must be over 2 years now πŸ˜†

  3. #4 Dunno, but I’m doing all my relists to go live on the 1st so they’ll not appear on my November invoice (I’m billed on the 1st, not the 15th…)

  4. #7 Latest idea…. cancel ALL fixed price regardless of whether they have sales or not or how long they have to run . Get 30 days for free (less however was left to run even if only a day left!)

    Why edit when you can cancel and relist? Except a word of caution, if you have a listing with a long tail of recent sales say 35 days, you cancel and relist you’re down to 5 days recent sales…. worth considering editing those if you’ve got no sales on the current listing but did on the previous.

  5. I still dont get why folk are ending listings

    it has to cost more to do all this admin than any fine or refund is ever going to cost

  6. #9 Agree in principle but…!
    If you are a business and VAT registered I can see why some medium/large sellers would want to set things up correctly asap and avoid the fees penalty if they can despite the admin overload.
    For those of us who are not VAT registered or smaller sellers then this is a non issue in my view – I care not a jot whether my listings are correct or not quite frankly and I doubt HMRC have the time or the inclination to police millions of eBay listings.
    I have no intention in changing anything until a listing is due for revision.
    I also have no intention of passing on any supposed 2.5% saving – my margins are thin enough already.

  7. well if your principles are more important than your profit, knock yourself out.

    madness if you ask me.

  8. #11 Are you VAT reg in the UK?

    I don’t give a stuff about principles, what I do care about is that my next VAT inspection is as painless as possible and fine free.

  9. #10 For those of us who are not VAT registered or smaller sellers then this is a non issue in my view
    It *is* a non-issue if you’re not VAT-registered. (Except if you’re not VAT-registered and should be, or if you’re not VAT-registered but still have on your eBay listings that your prices include VAT, as per one rather memorable eBay forum thread this afternoon.)

  10. I personally don’t know why eBay didn’t use its muscle to get a clear ruling/official grace period from HMRC re VAT quoted on the site. Having an unmuddy view would have been at least a tiny comfort to many sellers.

  11. 14
    because like the rest of us that Deal with the VAT and TAX man

    we learned long ago .not to harrass, upset, or disturb,
    them unless we really need too

  12. #14 It’s not just what appears on the site Dan, the rate is also pushed through SMP to produce VAT invoices and for seller with higher volume (and most VAT rated sellers are the larger sellers by definition) it means manually editing every invoice in SMP one by one.

    Personally I’d rather edit a couple of hundred listings than a couple of thousand invoices. I just HAD to be changed, making it easier to change in the future would be good though πŸ˜€

  13. #12 Perhaps you need to stop thinking of the VAT man as a monster

    I am certain not one single ebay seller is going to get punished by the them for only changing the rate as the listings run their course.

    My being VAT registered or not has nothing to do with my opinion.

    It is of course your time and your money and you are free to do as you wish, my opinion is that both could be spent in better ways.

  14. 17

    I too think all this is a little overstated though

    I bet Dollars to Doughnuts yer not Vat Registered,
    because your opinion would be different if you were,
    the VAT man is your worst nightmare, if they start to dig into your books and trading activity

  15. On a good day the inspector is frosty and thaws during the inspection if things are above board.

    the only people who do not understand the power of these guys are ones that have not dealt with them, being on the wrong side of HMRC is only slightly better than being murdered or raped.

    as my dear old accoutant used to tell me:
    customs officers used run along the cliff tops with cutlasses chopping up smugglers.
    nothings changed except they dont carry cutlasses due to H&S anymore.

  16. True Story

    years ago we got hit with Β£5000 bill from the VAT man,
    when we said we did not have that kind of money, and you cant get blood out of a stone,
    the VAT man replied

    we can!

  17. In my experience HMRC have always been extremely helpful. In my opinion they don’t cause aggro just for the hell of it (famous last words).

    #16 I would imagine that most “larger sellers” don’t use SMP for there invoicing/accounts record.

    It will be interesting to see what number of listings have the correct VAT amount, in the eBay designated VAT field, this time next week.

  18. #21 They’re very helpful to the extent that they’ll tell you every possible thing you can offset against tax if you know what to ask. However they’re also assiduous in making sure that they extract every last penny of tax that the law says they may.

    Best to be squeaky clean and everything in order than have a time bomb ticking waiting to see if they find it.

    Quite apart from which an unexpected bonus from eBay makes it VERY costly for them, as I’d advise everyone to end every 30 day listing they have running, relaunch on the 1st with free subtitle, relist again on the 31st Dec again with free subtitle and then on the relist at the end of January remove subtitle unless you want to pay for it.

    Effectively they’ve inadvertently given every seller on the site (with a featured/anchor shop and worth upgrading if you don’t have one), 60 days of listings with subtitle for the cost of as little as a penny (or 5p with a featured shop).

    There’s no excuse not to cancel and relaunch with the correct VAT rate and every reason to do so and take a 60 day advantage with free subtitle at the same time.

  19. oh yeah don’t get me wrong, if your above board they are fine, i got in all sorts of muddle once and ended up wrong to the tune of 120k in the 80’s by rating something incorrectly over 3 years.
    the circumstances stood up and they gave me three months sort out by re-invoicing all the customers etc, so have all the time in the world for them, hell my house was only woth 85 then, i was be done for.

    but… you have been given a weeks notice and the change has to be made on the 1st December 2008, we can all comply because we can all end listings, i don’t think they will swallow and argument that it could not be done.
    or i’m chicken one of the two….cluck

  20. were antique dealers, we wear masks, striped jumpers,and carry a bag with swag wrote on, swig rum, and wave lamps from coastal cliffs on dark nights

  21. cant you just stick a note into the ‘add to description’ using bulk edit saying the VAT will be 15% on final invoicing.
    It only needs to be done until current listing end their run.
    The VAT man is only going to be concerned that the correct rate is charged at the time of invoicing, not with any uneditable wording in a VAt field on a listing.

  22. Logged into Amazon today to pack my orders – what a difference to ebay!

    All item pages have this text prominently shown:

    New 15% VAT Rate Applied
    All listed prices on applicable products sold by Amazon.co.uk now include the new, reduced VAT rate of 15%. This has been applied automatically to the price of your item so you don’t need to do a thing.

    With a link to more info:

    UK Vat Rate Change
    Important Note: As of 00.01 hrs, Monday, 1st of December 2008, the standard UK VAT rate will change from 17.5% to 15%. The VAT rate charged on Amazon.co.uk orders will be updated at this time. All references within our Help pages to the VAT rate will be updated during business hours on Monday 1st December, 2008.

  23. #29 Darn it – I thought today *was* Friday! πŸ™ You mean I’ve got another day to work before the weekend? 😯

    *Note to self: Not knowing what day of the week it is looks really really bad* πŸ˜€


Referral Fee Changes Amazon Base Reserve policy impacts cashflow Amazon Disbursements held & VAT Liability email Amazon delay FBA Fee changes (and correct errors)

Amazon Disbursements held & VAT Liability email

eBay UK digital sales reporting to HMRC

eBay UK digital sales reporting to HMRC

Jersey GST applied to ecommerce from 1st July

Amazon notify sellers of Jersey GST

Jersey GST applied to ecommerce from 1st July

Jersey GST applied to ecommerce from 1st July

low-value goods VAT

EU low-value goods exemption to end

ChannelX Guide...

Featured in this article from the ChannelX Guide – companies that can help you grow and manage your business.


Take a look through a selection of the latest articles on ChannelX

Register for Newsletter

Receive 5 newsletters per week

Gain access to all research

Be notified of upcoming events and webinars