People trading on the internet who haven’t paid all the tax they owe have just one month left to take part in an opportunity offered by HMRC to get their tax affairs in order on the best terms available.
Under the time-limited opportunity, known as the e-Markets Disclosure Facility, online marketplace traders who come forward at any time between now and 14 June 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.
Once the e-Markets Disclosure Facility expires, HMRC will clamp down on those who have failed to declare earnings and paid the tax that they owe.
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. 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 this campaign.
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.”
HMRC is inviting online traders to a live Twitter question and answer session, with a tax expert who will answer questions about the campaign, on 16 May between 7pm and 8pm. Follow @HMRCgovuk (http://twitter.com/#!/hmrcgovuk) and tag questions #emqa in advance or on the day.
People who are unsure whether their e-marketplace activity could be seen as trading can visit the HMRC website for further information: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/campaigns/emarket.htm . They can also watch a YouTube video for advice: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uptdjVD2LgI
Once the 14 June deadline has passed, 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.
The benefit of the campaign is that those who make a full disclosure:
• will be offered a simple and straightforward way to put their tax affairs right
may not be charged a penalty at all, with most receiving a penalty of no more than 10 per cent of the tax they owe.