'Non-VAT registered online sellers are killing the High Street'

Our Counter Insurgent columnist talks about Amazon and eBay’s policies on foreign registered sellers
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This month our anonymous columnist discusses why they think honest tax paying businesses are getting a raw deal when it comes to selling popular consumer electronics like Apple’s iPad.

Non-VAT foreign registered sellers on eBay and Amazon are killing High Streets up and down the country.

I know this is a very bold statement, but in my opinion it is true.

Right now, one of these retailers is selling the iPad Air 2 16GB Wi-Fi, which has an RRP of £399, for £349.99 through a marketplace seller. Those indies who dabble in Apple products are fully aware of the margins available even when sourced from authorised distribution. The seller of this iPad also has a 10-15 per cent deduction made from the purchase price by the site and PayPal meaning the actual cost price must be around £255+VAT, which we know is impossible in the UK channel.

So how do they do it? Well, eBay and Amazon provide a platform for foreign registered sellers to operate out of the EU but utilise stocks in UK warehouses. By doing this, the seller doesn’t charge the buyer VAT. Surely this
is illegal as the goods are shipped from one UK address to another UK address?

Despite this, it continues to happen across all platforms, creating an uneven marketplace for honest businesses that pay tax, VAT, business rates, and provide jobs to the British populace.

This kind of trading costs the UK economy billions in lost VAT, tax and jobs as well as the associated overheads of running a British business, yet eBay and Amazon somehow don’t pay their dues to the HMRC purse.

When will the Government take notice, step up and stop this practice?

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