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UK Taxman launches eBay VAT robot

Date 8 Jun 2006
Author Platform One
Platform One

The UK taxman has unleashed a £250,000 "web robot" to track down VAT-dodging high-volume eBay traders who have absent-mindedly forgotten to register for Value-Added cash extraction.

According to, the "robot" in question is an advanced search engine which pinpoints said rogue traders. HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) estimates it will net £1m a year in extra VAT and "force an extra 20 businesses to register for the tax".The National Audit Office (NAO) says VAT on ecommerce sales - which continue to rise inexorably - totalled in excess of £1bn during the 2005 to 2006 tax year.

An estimated 70,000 people make a quarter of their income by trading on eBay. Sadly, many do not declare these earnings, and while those dealing second-hand stuff need pay VAT only on profits, failure to do so or to keep proper records could result in being hit for VAT on the full sale price.The news from HMRC to capture organisations trading on eBay and not maintaining accurate financial records coincides with the decision by last week to endorse Tradebox as a recommended eBay third party tool. The product, which integrates eBay sales directly with Sage’s SME accountancy solution Line 50, provides businesses trading on eBay substantial time savings by automatically compiling their financial records from eBay sales, including the accurate compilation of their VAT liability.

If you have any queries relating to this article, please contact Stephen Bales at Platform One, stephen.bales or call 0191 280 4025.

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