Tax Office Targets eBay And Amazon Traders
UK sellers on eBay and Amazon who do not declare their taxable earnings are facing heavy fines, after the tax office launched a new campaign.
The warning comes as an amnesty offered by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) ceases.
HMRC targeting of professional sellers who are behind in their tax payments will be made to repay with penalties.
The orders would make sellers pay the tax owed, along with interest and fines up to the full amount of the total.
HMRC has sent out more than 30,000 notification letters and trading sites have been asked to supply officials with details of the sellers.
Authorities are cross-referencing self-assessment data on taxpayers with details from the websites.
HMRC said: "If you owe tax and don't get in contact by the deadline, do not assume that HMRC will not catch up with you soon.
"It's better to come to us before we come to you."
Tax consultants have advised, however, that the targeting programme is not aimed at people selling personal items cleared out of lofts or garages.
To date the voluntary amnesty has brought more than £500m additional funds into tax office coffers.
The increased scrutiny of online traders comes just a day after eBay executive Devin Wenig unveiled a new logo to be rolled out.
He said the redesign reflected a shift by the online site away from auctions and collectibles toward full-priced, buy-it-now merchandise.
The strategic shift is the latest in a series of incremental changes brought in by eBay as it seeks to maximise profit.
However, critics of the changes have pointed out that the site is now swamped with dozens of similar items on offer by traders.
Others complain that foreign sellers now appear on domestic eBay sites and the automatic "best match" feature.