Online tech news outlet The Register has been probing the VAT affairs of Chinese iPad sellers on eBay UK and specifically examines how they can’t be profitable unless they don’t pay VAT.
You can read the whole article on The Register here but this gives a flavour.
“A number of iPad sellers based outside the UK are selling cut-price fondleslabs in Blighty after seemingly bypassing UK VAT payments, a Register analysis can reveal.
Under UK tax law, sellers have to declare 20 per cent VAT. But El Reg has discovered a number of sellers do not have listed VAT numbers and are selling iPads at a rate which would amount to a loss-leader if they were declaring VAT.*
Those sellers who do not pay the tax could force their smaller British rivals out of business, say the latter.”
This is a useful contribution to the debate because 1) it’s rather more measured than the Mirror pieces that have been seen and b) it’s good to explore higher priced items such as the iPads themselves rather than the covers. And the fact remains that there are questions to answer about how so many Chinese sellers do seem to be getting away with it.