Government targets eBay vendors over tax

Major eBay sellers are required to declare their earnings by law so they can be taxed

The UK Government has issued guidelines on paying tax for eBay sellers. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has decided too many people are giving up work and profiting from eBay, without paying the appropriate tax on goods.

If you're simply selling a couple of old lamps and an ironing board, you're pretty safe. HMRC is after serious eBay buyers:

"As long as you are not buying goods with the intention of selling them at a profit, you are not regarded as a trader," the guidelines state. However, this does mean that a sizeable number of home users are being targeted - many do sell wholesale goods through the site.

If you're one of them, you're legally bound to pay Income Tax and National Insurance (NI) contributions. That's because you're classified as a sole trader.

"In the new guidance, there are examples to help you work out if you have to pay tax when you sell items online," said the HMRC's Director of Risk & Intelligence, Stuart Hartlib.

"This site is designed to make registering and paying tax easier, so you can work out whether you are self-employed and need to file a return."

The guidelines also apply to users who trade goods for others on commission, as well as people who make their own items and sell them.

If you want to own up, the site enables you to register as a sole trader. You'll then have to complete a Self-Assessment tax return when the time comes.


Dan (Twitter, Google+) is TechRadar's Former Deputy Editor and is now in charge at our sister site Covering all things computing, internet and mobile he's a seasoned regular at major tech shows such as CES, IFA and Mobile World Congress. Dan has also been a tech expert for many outlets including BBC Radio 4, 5Live and the World Service, The Sun and ITV News.