Did PayPal hand over my info to HMRC?

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There’s been a lot of interest in how the HMRC managed to acquire the names and addresses of online retailers to write to them during the recent HMRC e-marketplaces campaign. We know that eBay and Amazon didn’t hand over our information, but did PayPal?

There had been some speculation as some sellers had unique information registered on their PayPal account that didn’t appear on eBay, Amazon or other online sources. Also being a finance company it might be reasonable for PayPal to share information with the tax authorities.

That’s not the case though. PayPal have told Tamebay that PayPal has not provided bulk data to HMRC and nor have HMRC requested us to do so.

That’s a pretty emphatic answer so it would appear that if HMRC have your PayPal registration information it’s from another source. Either they’ve done a test purchase, one of your customers has handed your details to HMRC, or they’ve gathered it from off-line sources and matched it to your online activities.

It’s reasonable for HMRC to suspect some off-line businesses who also trade online may have omitted to declare their online sales, so it’s no surprise that the tax man may have tied the two together.

Regardless how they obtained online seller’s details the questions that remain are how will they follow up the initial letters and of course have they written to a single seller who’s registered as a private seller on eBay? We’ve yet to find just one private seller who got the letter so if that’s you we’d love to hear from in confidence.

19 Responses

  1. .
    Re; “PayPal has not provided bulk data to HMRC and nor have HMRC requested us to do so“.

    Not wishing to question what Paypal say, but maybe the word here is BULK, AS THEY ARE NOT SAYING THEY HAVE NOT RECEIVED REQUEST[S], JUST NOT A ‘bulk’ request.

    Also, we have to wonder how many employees have access to a DVD disc writer[etc]to copy info…..

  2. its a scare campaign a few letters and adverts no real cost or effort
    they just dont have the manpower to chase all those fiddiling , same as the traffic cops cant prosecute every speeding motorist on the M25

  3. I was convinced it was Paypal.
    Looks like HMRC have been doing allot of digging elsewhere…test purchases and people reporting sellers seem to be the most likely explanation?

  4. Just a guess but I would assume the way HMRC knows that you use PayPal is not from PayPal but from your linked bank. Each time you make a withdrawl it will show up in your bank account as being from PayPal. That’s the way the IRS operated until this year where they are now legally required to provide the info.

  5. Surely the only way they could learn how often he visited the pub and how many pints he ordered would be to follow him. So somewhere in the HMRC there must be a team(because it would need to work in shifts and at weekends) who are happy to regularly visit the pub and order pints(because you look rather out of place sitting in a pub with a clipboard and not ordering drinks) as their regular work. Also somewhere in HMRC there must be a Manager who is happy to sign the timesheets and expences claims for such activity. Tell me how to you go about applying for such a job?? I only hope that all those dedicated hours in the pub produced worthwhile results rather than just a hangover.

  6. People would end up paying higher prices for items so they would loose custom as people would go elsewhere.

    It isn’t in Ebay’s favour.It’s a trading website.They are not going to hand over info that will destroy their base.They will lobby hard over it.

    Also the share price in the States would go down.One is now sucking you dry and now so is the other.

  7. I wonder how much resources it would take from HMRC to come after sellers operating from China selling in the UK.
    The internet needs a sales Tax adding to every Ebay sale..problem solved.


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