HMRC e-Markets Disclosure – Success or Failure?

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The deadline of the 14th June for voluntary disclosure under the HMRC e-Markets campaign has passed. We hear that in addition to the initial 32,000 letters that were sent out that somewhere in excess of another 100,000 letters have been sent.

The question is how effective was the campaign? The only people we’ve heard from so far that were contacted were those already registered as Business Sellers on eBay. We’ve yet to hear from a seller who is registered as a Private Seller on eBay that received the letter. The sellers who are running legitimate businesses who have declared their income and paid their tax bills but still received the letters are not the people who the campaign was aimed at.

I’ve heard stories of many people who have come forward and made voluntary disclosure, some of whom probably were registered as Private eBay sellers. The people really of interest though are businesses masquerading as Private Sellers – did any of them receive a letter from HMRC?

What happens next?

When I received the letter I gave HMRC a quick phone call with my tax references and once they had my VAT number and could see I had paid my last VAT bill the guy on the phone lost all interest in me. If you didn’t get in touch with HMRC should you now be expecting a follow up letter or phone call? If you have had a follow up we’d love to know. Currently although HMRC say they have data on well over 100,000 people trading online they’ve not given any indication of how they’re cross checking them with their list of tax payers or what method they’re using to follow up those they suspect might not be disclosing their income.

Even if you’re a fully paid up member of the tax paying brigade, if you got the original letter let us know if you have any follow up correspondence with HMRC. Now that the time limit has passed we’re watching eagerly to see the campaign swing into action to start clamping down on those traders who are competing unfairly by not paying taxes due so any indications that HMRC are chasing up traders who they’ve not confirmed are paying tax would welcome news.

We’d especially love to hear from you if:

– You’re registered as a Private eBay Seller and received the original HMRC letter (whether or not you’re liable for, or have already paid, any tax)
– You received the original HMRC letter and have had a second contact from HMRC
– You know anyone who was not paying tax and didn’t voluntarily declare their income who HMRC have subsequently contacted

We don’t need or want any personal details, we’d just be interested to gauge how targeted the campaign was and how effective it is now that it’s in the follow up phase.

10 Responses

  1. I made a disclosure about eBay sales over the past couple of years, however I know two other sellers who should have registered but didn’t take the chance. Neither got a first letter, and neither have had any subsequent contact.
    Have there additional 100k letters been sent out already?
    Pretty quick if so…almost unheard of where hmrc is concerned.

  2. Hmrc will be to busy dealing with the sprats they have enticed, if the letter worked

  3. I must say, I have never been called a sprat before 🙂
    Mind you, I never got a letter, so what does that make me?

  4. Any update Chris? Just wondering if anyone has been in touch outside the comments section?


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