Isn’t this kind of him

There is a solution to this whole issue. It is to make Amazon and eBay liable for collecting VAT on all sales through their platform unless the retailer using their services can prove they are not liable to be registered for VAT purposes. I know this may penalise some smaller retailers with an extra admin burden. And it will mean that Amazon and eBay would have to ensure that non-VAT chargeable sales such as books could be kept out of charge. But given the tax losses that are happening I think the costs this would impose would be fair and would justify a small price increase to cover admin, if necessary.

Isn’t that just peachy? Amazon gets to charge all of its punters more to cover the costs of collecting tax? Are we certain that shouldn’t read HMRC offers Amazon a slice to cover those costs?

39 thoughts on “Isn’t this kind of him”

  1. In other words we pay more so that Amazon can pay more tax. The question “why” springs to mind. I will ask Capt Potato what inflation this tax is going to solve

  2. hmmm… getting major service companies to collect tax and charge you for the “service” while simultaneously waving off any inconvenient tax attacks on said major (monopoly-ish) service companies?

    I take one look at the costs of importing anything bought on eBay from North America and I can see where that might end up….

    Ritchie can fuck off , and when he gets there he can fuck off again and again and again….

  3. Bloke in North Dorset

    “How do you prove a negative – ie that your turnover isn’t higher than the VAT threshold?”

    Its one of those when did you stop beating your wife questions .. when did you become a tax avoider.

    More seriously, this got me thinking on about why the VAT threshold is set where it is and I was wondering if it was to save HMRC money or protect politicians from pitch fork wielding hordes.

    If VAT was set at £0 it must cost HMRC more to worry about and manage all those little life style businesses that really don’t make very much money and would raise SQRT(bugger all) . On the other side, as an example Mrs BiND turns over a reasonable amount in pictures sold and teaching, but has costs not far off that, although she has had to pay income tax occasionally but has also received rebates. I suspect the mild mannered artist, along with millions of others in similar lifestyle businesses, would be storming parliament if she had to deal with VAT,

  4. Requiring companies to collect the VAT when they collect the payment – then pay it to HMRC – I can see a few problems there. Customer refunds, claiming back from HMRC when amazon take money, cashflow issues, getting rate correct.
    By that last I mean amazon collecting the right amount of VAT. It is NOT 20% rate for all sellers.
    So which of the dozens of rates will amazon or ebay deduct and if they make mistakes (as they have been known to do with every other aspect of selling) then who does a seller claim from?
    The easiest thing for a site to do is deduct 1/6th of what the buyer pays from EVERY sale and let the sellers chase HMRC for the refund. And every seller will get refunded in at least part. Puts the admin straight onto HMRC.

  5. Or how about disability aids. If I buy a home phone I get it zero rated for VAT. Due to disability.
    If my neighbour buys the same item then its charged at 20% VAT. Due to no disability.
    Two orders for the exact same item, two different rates.

  6. And what about all those private eBay auctions of pre-owned & secondhand items which no VAT is liable on? You proposing we pay 20% VAT on everything every single time it is sold? FFS…

  7. If an imputed value for VAT were placed on Richie’s posts, we could claim a rebate on every one.

  8. Looking at his entire post, he starts it with “UK tax officials are set to strike an agreement with online marketplaces including Amazon and eBay that will give HM Revenue & Customs access to their data to combat value added tax evasion by overseas online retailers.”
    So why’s he talking about making Amazon & eBay liable for collecting VAT on all sales? The VAT is payable by the customer on importation of the goods, on goods valued over €22. It’s nothing to do with Amazon or eBay. And good luck to HMRC on getting AliExpress Or TomTop in China to comply with UK tax collectors. Why would they?
    But on all sales through Amazon & eBay by UK based sellers?
    Sellers who are VAT registered charge VAT now. Charging sellers who aren’t VAT registered is going to encourage them to become registered so they can reclaim input. Sellers work on small mark-ups. That’s the advantage of low cost on-line selling platforms, isn’t it? So one can make a profit on small mark-ups. So the amount of VAT net collected will be relatively small. And HMRC just bought itself a whole heap of work processing small VAT rebate claims. At a guess, the administration costs for HMRC would outweigh the tax take.

  9. Contins isn’t getting many comments Tim–even about stuff that would have ensured a 100 comments+ over there (the Brexit bit and the appearances of Mr Fulla-shite) and an absolute frenzy over here.

    Log in is the cause.

    Get rid of it and you might at least get some comment action back over there. Leave it in place and you are going to be talking to yourself on both sites at the rate things are going .

    Just keeping on saying Murphy is an arsehole over here isn’t much good. Anyone not a moron knows that. Your obsession with the idiot was not a problem when it was just part of a rich feast on this blog. But now that it is all there is over here–it isn’t going to cut it.

    You are waiting for this “whatever” you spoke of. OK –but your blogs are both evaporating while you wait. At least turn the tap back on over here. You can’t take a successful show of the air mid-run , saying “we may be back in six months or so” and still expect the audience to be sitting there waiting.

  10. The problem is that a large attraction of a blog like this are the comments and commentators.
    It takes time to build up an ecosystem that is stable and ‘works’.
    It can take an astonishingly short time to destroy it.
    As an example for me was ‘El Reg’ which had built up a rather quirky and unique editorial stance with some excellent contributors.
    The commentards were excellent and knowledgeable and if you wanted the inside track on anything IT related, it was the place to go.
    Then they changed ownership, a lot of what made them unique disappeared and a lot of the more interesting commentators jumped ship.
    I used to visit that site 4,5,6 times a day, now it’s twice a month….

  11. Bloke in North Dorset

    “Log in” isn’t the problem, its not being able to stay logged in. Every time you close down you have to go through the rigmarole.

  12. The problem is that a large attraction of a blog like this are the comments and commentators. It takes time to build up an ecosystem that is stable and ‘works’. It can take an astonishingly short time to destroy it.

    Contins is apparently about dosh?

    The bit I didn’t get is that, on a number of occasions over here in the past, people (ie readers / contributors) have recommended to Tim that he discreetly add a donate / contribute button on the site.

    Simply in that every now and again, something would happen that either created a sense of camaraderie or otherwise demonstrated to readers the value of this site, and which clearly would have had that button clicking – particularly given some good chunk of the readership profile here.

    That might even have inspired this site to morph into something different (between Contins (for advertising) and this)?

    I do hope that Tim’s current strategy proves to be a more successful one.

  13. John, the buyer pays the VAT and its not 20% of what the price is. Its 1/6th. 16.67% of the price charged.
    VAT is an added tax, not a tax.

    The tax that HMRC are due however will in pretty much every case be less than 20% rate. Because of the VAT that would be claimed back (standard rate) or because 20% isn’t the rate paid to HMRC (flat rate scheme).

  14. BiS–No altruist I but I have enjoyed the blog. I would prefer it doesn’t disappear. But if Tim doesn’t see it– then I’ll live.

    It would be a helluva shame tho’.

  15. @ bloke in spain
    VAT is (or at least was) payable on imports, no matter whether the exporter is registered for VAT. So Amazon, ebay et al should deduct VAT from the sum that they remit to the exporter.
    A lot of the trouble is the claim (often spurious) that the sale is made in the exporting country and that the goods are imported, after purchase, by the buyer.

  16. John 77 – the goods are subject to VAT before amazon or ebay get their hands on the item. Payable by the seller (amazon) or by the buyer (ebay).
    There is a threshold.

    If you buy goods online from outside the EU for delivery to the UK, you’ll have to pay Customs Duty (if over £120 value) and Import VAT (if over £18) on top of the purchase price (including duties), though Customs Duty is waived if the amount of the calculated duty payable is £7 or less.

  17. @john77
    I import quite a lot from outside the EU. Mainly from China. Mostly through AliExpress, although I have used eBay.
    It’s hard to see how a selling platform could deduct VAT. There’s no VAT due on the item until after it’s cleared customs. Until then, you don’t know (as a buyer) what customs duty might be levied & thus what the VAT (if any) is going to be.
    The selling platform company would have to getting a customs ruling from the seller before the listing. Why should a Chinaman in Guadong give a f**k about the intricacies of UK customs? He’s selling, not importing. And when he’s listing, he doesn’t know where the goods are going, anyway. eBay’s a global platform. There’s no reason to believe a purchase made on is destined for the UK. That’s where I buy stuff for Spanish delivery. So which country would the VAT be payable to? And at what rate?

  18. @Mr Ecks

    The only certainty regarding these blogs is no matter how many times you comment on them or give Tim advice or ask questions.

    He always ignores you.

  19. TBF Rob, I think most people do the same. It is rather like listening to an Attila the Stockbroker album on repeat

  20. Bloke in spain – indeed. I buy some stuff occasionally from a French seller. The stuff is sold on ebay uk site but sent from France and has French VAT charged on it. The seller isn’t liable for UK VAT.

    Have in the past ordered a fair amount of stuff from Germany including books. With German VAT applied – items ordered on amazon uk and ebay uk but supplied from Germany. Again the sellers didn’t have UK VAT registration as not needed.

    HMRC want the hassle of sorting out who is liable and a ton of refunds? Oh wait that would require them having more staff and more money. Can see the union supporting that idea no matter the waste.

  21. Rob–Tim has answered politely–but he seems determined to press on despite what it is costing in regular commenters.

    Diogenes–get the echo in your barrel to talk for you–it would sound less hollow.

  22. It looks worse on Contins than normal today because Spike has taken a day off from posting.

    I had thought he was doing a sponsored Children in Need postathon event.

    Take a well earned rest Spike , you can’t save Contins single handed.

  23. @Mr Ecks, April 8, 2018 at 9:13 am

    Contins [Teleg] isn’t getting many comments Tim–even about stuff that would have ensured a 100 comments+ over there (the Brexit bit and the appearances of Mr Fulla-shite) and an absolute frenzy over here.

    Log in is the cause.

    Get rid of it and you might at least get some comment action back over there. Leave it in place and you are going to be talking to yourself on both sites at the rate things are going…

    +100 Wholeheartedly agree.

    I would add: Tim is filling CT with tabloid journalism poison pen fillers better suited to Hello! magazine – boring and several had zero comments yesterday.

    Tim, you asked for and have been given free advise by many and ignored all.

    Are you creating a “The Register” as an experiment in replicating failure?

  24. Comments policy??

    Comments fucking policy???

    What the Hell is going on Tim? Who is this mystery “technical partner” who seems to be the new boss?

    If you can make money out of anodyne and bland great. But you must also realise that if you go down the PC route you can’t have the Blog attached. If you are submitting to the left you can’t have the blog as a boiling pot of truth in the background. Or Contins will be left-basted in the juice provided by the blog. The blog will have to go–which is what I feared was the plan all along.

    What is going on here Tim?

  25. Update:

    My comment: Prescott in Blair era imposed the restrictive densities, banned chimneys, inflicted Elec & insulation regs, demolished homes…

    2 Comments, not visible & no “login to comment”

    Hey, ho – javascript and disqus must now be enabled to read comments.

    Tim, you blame your IT guys for these non user friendly regressions – you employ them, it’s your fault.

  26. What is going on ?

    Tim you must spend hours every day on the sites yet won’t really answer any questions, give reasons for changes.

    Its as if you are far too important to bother answering questions, and when you do its very short, a couple of words followed by a full stop.

    Tim you are not the editor of the real Telegraph, but a one man band sitting in your bedroom.

    Its plain rude.

  27. I have explained this before but again.

    Contins is – hoping at least – to be a commercial site. The crucial part of that if getting in Google News. This is something we apply for and there are certain rules about how and when you do so.

    Contins isn’t a replacement for this blog, nor is it meant to be. Contins is something much closer to a standalone version of what I used to do for Forbes. To make it work I’ve got to get into G News.

    So, attention is focused on the sort of writing which will get into there. In the sort of volume necessary. Once in, assuming that we get there, matters relax a bit. And the more incendiary of my opinions will be here again, with the time for me to express them.

    Start up always is the really busy time in a business, no?

  28. Ok Tim–I want your business to prosper–if you can’t eat you can’t blog. But declining comments are hardly good for your chances are they?

    However, if comments policies and the like are what you have to have to be a part of proleft-censoring Google –how do you think you will get on there with this blog as evidence that you are not even among the ranks of the womiccumalobus let alone the Jizzocracy?

    Also it is too late to change that anyway. If this blog had anachronistically shut down in 1968 (instead of being still alive-just in 2018) the leftoid scum would still be able to rake it up as proof you are not their kind of folk. And should not therefore be on Google under any circs.

  29. @ Martin
    If it’s sold on ebay UK, then the seller is exporting to ebay UK and should reclaim French VAT and ebay UK should charge you UK VAT on the (net of French VAT) price. But of course the French are highly selective about which bits of EU regulations they enforce and which ones they ignore.

  30. Disqus? Fair enough, at least I don’t need to log in. And it seems to allow swearing, so that’s all right then…

  31. John77
    No, ebay is just the platform used by the seller, it isn’t sold by ebay. Oftimes the same applies to a lot of things sold through Amazon: some is sold by Amazon but much is ‘Amazon Marketplace’, Amazon provide the payment processing and may provide fulfilment.

  32. @ djc
    IIRC, if you get Sotheby’s or Christie’s to auction stuff for you, they are legally the actual seller, so why isn’t ebay?

  33. @ John77
    Dunno, but…
    a) ebay is much like Amazon these days most of the stuff on sale is not auctioned, it is just sold by traders the same as Amazon marketplace.
    b) as I understand it VAT is payable on the auctioneers commission, not on the sale price (though cars seem to be an exception).

  34. @djc

    Correct. ebay/amazon/sotherby’s charge/pay vat on their fees/commission same as uber.

    Tesco Direct also host third party sellers and provide fulfillment etc like amazon.

    Cars: I’ve bought cars at auction, no vat. Car dealers pay vat on the difference between purchase and sale price.

    In general, vat is on net value added.

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