How the taxman spies on everything you buy and sell online… thanks to a new law hardly anyone has noticed : Daily Mail.

  • Tax officers monitor eBay and AirBnB to check up on activity
  •  HMRC has been hiring teams of ‘data analysts’ and ‘intelligence analysts’
  • Taxman can now force auction and payment sites to hand over your details  
  • Investigators now have extensive access to Etsy, eBay, Booking.com and Airbnb

Tax officials are spying on eBay and Airbnb customers’ accounts to obtain their names, addresses, bank account numbers and details of what they buy and sell online, Money Mail can reveal.

HM Revenue & Customs quietly acquired powers in September which allow it to snoop on anyone who uses so-called marketplace websites that connect buyers and sellers.

It means teams of investigators now have extensive access to websites such as Etsy — where craft-makers sell items like homemade cards and knitting — and eBay, as well as property and holiday letting sites including Booking.com and Airbnb.

Target: Tax officials are spying on eBay and Airbnb customers' accounts to obtain their names, addresses, bank account numbers and details of what they buy and sell online

Target: Tax officials are spying on eBay and Airbnb customers’ accounts to obtain their names, addresses, bank account numbers and details of what they buy and sell online

They can also see customers’ online shopping and sales receipts with payment firms such as PayPal and Worldpay.

Under new laws, these websites can now be forced to hand over millions of customers’ details whenever the taxman asks.

Officials don’t need any evidence that you have done something wrong to see your data, nor need they ask your permission or inform you that they’re snooping.

HMRC can feed this information into a sophisticated new computer system that flags up anyone who appears to be evading tax.

The powers are part of a drive to catch tax cheats who make a tidy profit from so-called ‘sharing economy’ websites.

Millions of people are making cash online, thanks to a boom in such sites. These online marketplaces allow any number of sellers to flog goods, services — or even a room in their home.

The middleman site takes a small cut of the proceeds.

But accountants say many sellers do not realise they owe tax on the profits they make.

Accountants say many sellers do not realise they owe tax on the profits they make

Last year, around 870,000 people — including people making small sums online — failed to submit self-assessment returns before the January 31 deadline. The number for 2017 is expected to top a million.

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4 thoughts on “How the taxman spies on everything you buy and sell online… thanks to a new law hardly anyone has noticed : Daily Mail.

  1. “Millions of people are making cash online, thanks to a boom in such sites.”

    People like Cherie Blair, who sold Tony’s autograph on E-bay. She originally advertised it for £35 but due to lack of interest, eventually she was forced to sell it for £10.
    Determined however to turn in a quick quid, she then sold a watch given to Tony by Silvio Berlusconi, which had originally cost £300 for £98 “unused in its original box with guarantee”.

    Worth millions but they can never have enough…

    Like

  2. TomMagenta

    I resent the idea that people who make a living selling goods online are “tax cheats”.

    The Internet provides those who otherwise cannot find decent work for any reason with the opportunity to make a living through their own creativity and skill. Heck, most of those take up an online living so they can pay taxes, debt etc.!

    It’s bad enough that these same websites are increasingly working against their clients with one stupid policy after another without the taxman and the media sticking their oar in and making these people out to be criminals for simply making their own living.

    I’m not against paying your dues, but I am against stigmatising and exploiting decent people, particularly those I aspired to.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. jeffrey davies

    oh dear may be said she sought the tax dodgers out well if you was thinking all those rich million aires then she pulled another one shes coming for you oh dear

    Liked by 1 person

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