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at what level are HMRC interested in those not registered?

(30 Posts)
happygilmore Mon 13-Feb-12 11:44:40

Wondering if I'll get flamed for this post, but hopefully not.

I am a small online seller and I'm fairly sure that one of my main competitors is not registered with HMRC (but of course I cannot be 100% sure on this). I wonder about reporting them, however they are not a huge seller (probably turn over £1-2k per month) and therefore may even be under the income tax bracket. Would HMRC even be interested and/or investigate.

RealLifeIsForWimps Mon 13-Feb-12 12:10:27

They'd probably send them a letter but I'm not sure they'd do a dawn raid grin

happygilmore Mon 13-Feb-12 12:31:39

no indeed, I wasn't expecting a swat team!! Just wondered if it was even worth my time reporting, that's all.

Gigondas Mon 13-Feb-12 12:33:24

I think they may be interested as I think they did some sort of press release lady week saying that unregistered Ebay traders were being focused on.

Gigondas Mon 13-Feb-12 12:35:11

hmrc focus see link here on traders

MadameGazelle Mon 13-Feb-12 12:35:26

Why bother, just worry about yourself and whether you're following the rules and let your competitor do the same. I really don't understand people like you. hmm

happygilmore Mon 13-Feb-12 12:46:13

My competitor isn't doing the same MadameGazelle. I don't understand why people think not paying your taxes is OK, but I knew I would get a post like yours, so thanks grin

MadameGazelle Mon 13-Feb-12 13:51:58

You said you cannot be 100% sure she isn't registered with HMRC, if she isn't that's up to her, if she is you've interfered and caused a lot of hassle for nothing for HMRC to look into it and for her to be investigated unneccessarily. I just don't know why it would bother you so much unless you would want her to be closed down since she is your main competitor and you would probably be able to take advantage and gain her lost business hmm

ScottOfTheArseAntics Mon 13-Feb-12 14:15:09

Your motivation is totally dubious but tax evasion is wrong and so you can salve your conscience with that thought. Unless of course you are going to make it your mission to identify and report all tax evaders you come across.

BillyBollyBandy Mon 13-Feb-12 14:19:05

They are always interested.

And for those who say you shouldn't, traders who don't pay tax (apart from any moral implications of stealing and dishonesty) are not on a level playing field with those who do. That means that traders who do abide within the law are at a disadvantage when it comes to price setting as they will have a lower profit.

And I don't think your motivation matters. It would not take a huge amount of time to deduce whether she is registered or not. And no one can ever be 100% sure really.

happygilmore Mon 13-Feb-12 14:33:00

Of course my motivation is because they are a competitor, why wouldn't it be? I'm not on a level playing field with them, no apologies for that (and I don't think it's a dubious motive either). I really don't feel guilty about reporting someone for potential tax evasion, why would I? Why would HMRC have an anonymous hotline for you to report people for this, if they didn't want to be 'bothered' by it? I'm not sure how it is possible to be sure someone is registered as self employed unless you work for HMRC??!! They say they're a private trader online (despite having £2k of stock listed) but only HMRC can know for sure, so I think it's a strange thing to say I shouldn't report them because I'm not sure. confused

I really don't care whether people think I should or shouldn't do it, I was simply trying to find out whether they are interested in reports like this or not. I couldn't care less that some random stranger on the internet thinks I shouldn't do it grin and wasn't posting to ask permission, sorry if that's how it came across!

Anyway, I've read up on that policy you posted Gigondas and it seems they do want to be bothered by people like this, so I have reported them. Up to HMRC now.

TalkinPeace2 Mon 13-Feb-12 14:54:03

I have reported several ebayers - using the online form
generally those who came onto the boards and bragged

HMRC take the information you provide and check it.
If the person is registered nothing further happens
if they are not then HMRC decide what to do without reference to the person who reported

so if they are legit you have calmed your worries and done no harm
and if they are not they really should have read my ebay me page and gone legit.

I lose no sleep over it.
I make my best fees sorting out fools.

happygilmore Mon 13-Feb-12 15:05:16

Thanks TP, your ebay page is brilliant by the way, it has helped me loads (I sound like a stalker but saw a post of yours on the ebay boards and found it really useful).

nickelDorritt Mon 13-Feb-12 15:11:29

I would report them.

(or at least, make enquiries that HMRC might want to follow up wink )

I don't have time for people who don't abide by the law, and HMRC are interested in all levels of sellers.

(i know you're not asking for permission grin )

£1k-£2k a week is lot of money.
I run a high street shop and am not turning that much over a week at the moment sad

happygilmore Mon 13-Feb-12 15:27:16

Thanks Nickel, it was a month but they've recently started selling far more, so I think it will be more soon - like I say they have £2k listed now and more going on all the time. I know there will always be people that say you should mind your own business, but I'm afraid I don't see it like that when it's a direct competitor.

Tough in retail just now isn't it.

Tee2072 Mon 13-Feb-12 15:30:17

Here is one case where I don't think you should mind your own business. If you think they are breaking the law, report them.

Why should they 'get away' with not paying any tax?

nickelDorritt Mon 13-Feb-12 15:31:21

a month, that's better grin

it is tough - was hoping half-term would improve things - it has, so far, but only to the tune of 2 or 3 purchases.

Next time I'm opening a toy shop. Toys sell better than books.

TalkinPeace2 Mon 13-Feb-12 15:34:47

as you have probably noticed I have the same ID just about everywhere and cross reference at random - I've had queries start on ebay, then carry on on MSE, UKBF, here, back to ebay etc
hence the "me" page staying up to date even though ebay is now so quiet !

happygilmore Mon 13-Feb-12 15:36:57

I always find it strange how some people think tax evasion is OK but benefits scroungers aren't..but that is another thread isn't it!!!

I used to sell books online nickel, but was rubbish at it! I'm guessing the internet must make it hard for you though, but yet book shops are such a better experience than online.

SanctiMoanyArse Mon 13-Feb-12 15:40:04

We're been reported several times, or at elast emailed to say we've been reported.

We are completely registered and legit so not a problem for us!
People assume ebay trader = not registered but we were even before we had our separate internet store; just what you do.

happygilmore Mon 13-Feb-12 15:42:27

Do people really think ebay = not registered? I don't, I have to say I think the other way, unless people write their listings as if they're not a business, but maybe that's because I'm a business seller myself.

TalkinPeace2 Mon 13-Feb-12 15:48:24

who emailed you? HMRC certainly do not. and ebay's rules on "business sellers" bear no relation to UK tax law.
I've had many runins with ebay about it. Various pinks have admitted that my me page is more accurate than their help pages and my threat of removing it has saved me from several slap induced bans!!

nickelDorritt Mon 13-Feb-12 16:12:33

i'm rubbish at the online part!
It's ridiculous how cheaply you have to list your books just to sell them, and I never make any money from them (i tend to list toys mainly, and books that aren't selling in the shop, that I can't return)

I have huge problems with my ebay, and have to keep track, because I have both a private and business accout. I keep accidentally listing things on my personal account, and buying things. then if i remember to log out and list things on my business account, i end up buying personal stuff through my business account!
I have a spreadsheet and an EPOS system, that i register all sales and receipts for the business, so I can keep track of what's what - it's dodgy ground, but at least I can prove that I know what's business and what's personal by having the other two systems.

happygilmore Mon 13-Feb-12 16:22:24

Yeah I can't see how there is any money to be made on selling books online any more, not unless they're collectable ones (and I'm rubbish at finding them).

mollymole Mon 13-Feb-12 16:23:10

Yes HMRC are interested in your information. All little bits of info are useful to them, and they are professional in the way they deal with the information they have. They will check as required and deal with it as they deem necessary.
I too feel very annoyed by people who seem to think that fiddling the tax man is an acceptable thing to do - you see, if you say that it is none of her business then you are saying that you MAY BE condoning tax evasion.
Even if some one makes NO PROFIT at all they still need to register with HMRC as a business/self employed person.

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