Internet sellers need to act now

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PEOPLE who make money from selling on the internet – perhaps through auction sites like eBay – have until June 14 to get their tax affairs in order.

After then, the taxman has vowed to go after people who haven’t paid their dues and come down hard.

Those who sell only a few items and who are not traders are unlikely to be liable to pay tax on what they sell and are not being targeted by the HM Revenue and Customs campaign.

The campaign is aimed at people using online marketplaces to buy and sell goods as a trade or a business and who are not up to date with their taxes.

Under the time-limited opportunity, known as the e-Markets Disclosure Facility, online traders who come forward at any time between now and June 14 and pay the tax, duties and interest they owe can benefit from lower penalties than those who wait for HMRC to catch up with them.

Marian Wilson, head of HMRC Campaigns, said: “Our aim is to make it easy for online marketplace traders to contact us and make a full disclosure of income, thereby putting their tax affairs in order.

“I urge online sellers who think they owe tax on their income to get in touch and get their tax affairs in order, simply and on the best possible terms.

“The information and intelligence we gather is from a wide range of sources and it allows us to target those who should come forward as part of the e-Markets Disclosure Facility.

“If you owe tax and don’t get in contact, do not assume that HMRC will not catch up with you.”

Once the e-Markets Disclosure Facility expires, HMRC will clamp down on those who have failed to declare earnings and paid tax that they owe.

HMRC will investigate any online traders who have failed to respond to the opportunity, using information pulled together from a wide range of data sources. Penalties of up to 100 per cent of the tax owed, or even a criminal investigation could follow.

People unsure whether their e-marketplace activity could be seen as trading can visit the HMRC website for further information: www.hmrc.gov.uk/campaigns/emarket