eBay email sellers to remind them of VAT obligations

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eBay have emailed sellers about their VAT obligations. They are continuing to work with HMRC to prevent tax evasion, and this awareness email is part of that work.

The email titled “Important Tax Reminder: Your Value Added Tax Obligations”, tells sellers that if you are running a business selling on ebay.co.uk, it’s important to check you are complying with your Value Added Tax (VAT) obligations. It adds that depending on where you or your goods are located and the size of your business, VAT rules may apply to you.

VAT is complex and there are quirks, for example when selling used goods so eBay recommend that you seek advice from an accountant but does give some some starter tips for the VAT obligations for different types of businesses:

If your business is located in the UK and sells goods to UK customers, and your total UK located sales are above £85,000 per annum, you must:

  • Register with the UK tax authority (HMRC)
  • Display your VAT ID on your eBay listings
  • Report your collected VAT by completing a tax return with HMRC

If you are located overseas and forward deploy inventory to the UK

  • No threshold applies and you must immediately register for VAT
  • If you ship to, or forward locate inventory in other EU states you may also have to register for and pay VAT in those countries as well.

The email ends saying “eBay continues to work with HMRC to prevent tax evasion and will take action against those who don’t comply with the law, including selling blocks.”

There has been far to much in the press in recent years regarding VAT evasion and it’s right and proper that both HMRC are smartening up their act and that eBay remind sellers of their obligations. For many this will be old news and they’ll be properly registered for VAT or know that their business doesn’t fall within the realms of VAT. However there will still be some reading the email that haven’t fulfilled their obligations so hopefully it will prod a few into registering.

11 Responses

  1. Sadly that’s as far as ebay go…. I have reported sellers in the past, even recently, that are blatantly selling well over 150 to 200k of stock a year and yet not showing vat number etc…. months on they are still there unchanged. Emails are great….. they are easily ignored by those who are already knowingly ignoring the rules and so actually achieve little but are believed to be telling everyone that ebay are working hard on it.
    What i want to see is action, not a mailshot. ( maybe they can address the sellers that all seem to be based in Manchester yet strangely dispatch via china post while they are at it?

  2. They could have picked a better title for the email with only 36 hours of January left.

    ‘eBay for Business January newsletter’

    I binned it straight away expecting the same condescending stuff that they usually send.

  3. If eBay was serious about VAT it would suspend any account automatically on reaching the VAT threshold until the customer can prove they are VAT registered and have paid any outstanding amount. eBay and PayPal should forward any account details that go over the threshold to HMRC automatically so it can be investigated. We’ve always been vat registered and get frustrated with bedroom sellers who are cheaper than us and have thousands of feedback each year and we know they are not declaring anything

  4. Why doesn’t ebay let the TAX MAN worry about it, and eBay just concentrate on being an online AUCTION site first and foremost, and deal with scammers?

    As mentioned, eBay can, will & have suspended sellers who have supplied “contact details” in some form or other, directly or indirectly, often as an oversight. Acted at the SPEED of light to protect itself (often from nothing) at the expense of honest sellers, yet when it comes to SCAMMERS?

    NOW eBay act at the speed of a 3 toed ARTHRITIC SLOTH to deal with this issue, and why?, well I’d guess it has something to do with the fact eBay PROFITS from any successful scam.

    I was able to show the joke that is eBay CS, and that even BIGGER joke “Trust & Safety” a number of auctions, where the same 3 “names” (3 names, 1 person?) were involved, and I could/can place 2 of them (as sellers) at the SAME address. I could/can also ID all 3 as BIDDERS, so could see when (as a bidder) it would bid on it’s own item, THAT or it’s simply that time and time again, the seller UPstairs doesn’t realise the the eager beaver bidding on his items, lives DOWNstairs 🙁


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