HMRC’s tax crackdown on eBay traders

Those who make extra cash from giving private lessons are now on the HM Revenue & Customs’ hitlist of potential tax cheats.

They join people who make a business of selling goods on the internet, personal trainers, tradesmen and businesses that fail to register for VAT as the latest targets of the tax crackdown.

Thousands of teachers make extra money tutoring children for exams — HMRC now wants its cut from these extra earnings.

Millions of pounds worth of goods are bought and sold on sites such as eBay and Amazon every day. HMRC insists it is not targeting those who sell only a few items and are unlikely to be liable for tax.

It will trawl the internet using ‘web robot’ software to catch out people and companies breaking its rules, failing to pay the right tax or trading illegally.

Software will also be used to uncover inconsistencies between the amount firms or people are paying in tax and their bank interest, property income and lifestyle.

HMRC announced last month that a campaign will be launched in the summer targeting VAT rule-breakers trading above the £73,000 turnover threshold but who have not registered for VAT.

The taxman is offering an amnesty to those who come clean about underpaid tax in the next few months.

Rather than fines equivalent to all of the tax owed, they will be face a surcharge penalty of 10%.


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