Online trader jailed
An online trader has been sentenced to two years in jail for failing to declare the sales he made online. John Woolfenden from Radcliffe sold DVDs, CDs and games using online portals such as Play.com, Playtrade and eBay. He was found guilty of evading almost £300,000 of unpaid taxes and interest and money laundering. HMRC investigators discovered that Woolfenden had more than 520,000 listings on eBay and had even routed some payments through an American bank account to avoid being detected.
An HMRC disclosure opportunity known as the e-Markets Disclosure Facility ended in 2012. The campaign targeted taxpayers that should have been paying tax on income they earned from buying and selling goods direct to others using online marketplaces such as EBay. Since this campaign ended, HMRC has continued to use the data gathered during the campaign to identify people who should have come forward but chose not to.
Whilst individuals that only sell a few personal items online are unlikely to be trading anyone who is operating online as a business and not declaring the income should seek to remedy the situation as a matter of urgency.
Making a voluntary disclosure can significantly reduce the amount of penalties due and should avoid the possibility of criminal investigations taking place.