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Australia eBay & Paypal General discussions about eBay.com.au Suspensions and Paypal.com.au limited accounts. This forum is geared towards AU.

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Old 10-14-2008
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Default Australian Tax Office enquiry?

I have got one email today from eBay today
Dear,

eBay has received a request from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) for information relating to Australian members who:
- Sold over $50,000 worth of goods on eBay.com.au during the tax years ending June 2006;
- Sold over $50,000 worth of goods on eBay.com.au during the tax years ending June 2007; and/or
- Sold over $75,000 worth of goods on eBay.com.au during the tax year ending June 2008.

Our records reflect that your sales on eBay.com.au fall within one or more of those thresholds.

The ATO has requested the following types of information in relation to such sellers during the relevant periods:
- Contact name
- Address
- Telephone number
- Email address
- User ID
- Date of birth
- Date of registration on eBay
- Monthly sales for each month for the tax year/s in which your sales exceeded the thresholds set out above, during the period 1 July 2005 to 30 June 2008

eBay is legally required to comply with this request for information. In addition, such disclosure is also permitted pursuant to our Privacy Policy. We confirm that disclosure has now been made to the ATO as legally required.

For further information regarding the ATO please visit its website at: Australian Taxation Office Homepage, or consult with your professional legal or tax adviser.

Sincerely,
The eBay Team


is there anyone has to claim the GST before over eBay at Australian?
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I got the same e-mail aswell...I don't know what to do....They sent it to me for one of my eBay accounts that was suspended in March....I was making 50K+ in 2006 & 2007...

Any advice would be helpful...
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Old 10-14-2008
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Suggest you contact the ATO's customer service department. Have an anyonmous conversation about being a seller on ebay and what are ATO's requirements. Face it, if your income is over $50,000 for any reason, then taxes are payable. How much to pay is in your hands. Usually an accountant helps with that. As regards GST, I have an ABN and an accountant.That is up to him to deal with GST. I supply the invoices,receipts and he does the rest.
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Old 10-15-2008
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We were surprised to find that even after $150k + worth of sales in one year, we were still GST exempt because of international sales and international postage (both of which are GST exempt income). I think for a lot of ebay sellers, they will discover that their tax obligations are not as bad as they fear if they sell overseas.

Anyway its good to be on your toes and to have the ATO chasing things up. A much worse situation to be in would be to accumulate years of tax debt and live with the constant worry and depression. Its better to get it sorted out sooner rather than later.
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The thing is I have been selling on eBay since 2005. The particular eBay account that was suspended was turning over at least 80k+ plus a year but it was suspended in March 2008, so I don't think I turned over more than 75k in the 2007 & 2008 financial year. I am worried about June 2005 - June 2006 and June 2006 - June 2007. But the majority of my sales where to the USA, and not AUSTRALIA.

The thing is I was living in Europe in 2005 to 2008 and used eBay as a means to support myself so I didn't think I had to register anything in OZ. I have NO RECEIPTS, I did however keep all my e-mails from everything that I sold from September 2006 till my suspension - That's all I have.

Can anyone please recommend anything to me. Do I have to declare all of this? and if not, what may happen? should I call up the ATO and have a chat with them?

Any advice would be appreciated......
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Old 10-16-2008
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Since you earnt the money overseas I'm pretty sure you don't pay tax here. I would go see an accountant and talk to them and see what they suggest for you to do.
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Old 10-18-2008
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Please don't worry; tax is an extremely emotional issue for most of us, but its totally fixable. I don't know everything about taxation, but I've read a lot in relation to my ebay business and I think I can answer a few questions.

Firstly, the fact that the ATO are chasing up late tax returns now is a positive thing. They are not looking to put people in Jail; they are just chasing up tax owed and penalties.

Regarding taxable income, you will only pay tax on income that hits your Australian bank account. If your sales income was deposited to a European bank account when you lived there, then that money is taxable in Europe. You just need to be careful not to look like you're a tax evader. So if you lived & worked in Europe, I think that would all be ok with the ATO (but research this in detail and ask an accountant).

Your overseas sales are GST exempt, so you need to subtract those sales from your total income to work out if you are GST liable. Many if not most ebay sellers will not owe GST in my opinion.

Regarding penalties for failure to lodge a tax return, the ATO are much harsher on people who falsify information and get caught, and on those who wait until an audit before admitting to their tax liability.

You should go to the ATO within 20 months after your tax return is due, and get on a tax accountants books (so he can apply for extensions if necessary). Penalties start at $110 per month since the time your tax return was due (I think the maximum penalty is Tax owed+5%) BUT if you don't admit to your tax liability, penalties start at tax owed plus 80% . If you made a loss, I'm pretty sure I read on the ATO web site that you won't owe penalties.(search `FTL' on the ATO site)

The key is to lodge your tax return before the ATO request an audit. If you can't pay, the ATO will agree to a reasonable tax repayment plan like any creditor.

So for anyone who is worried, my advice is take these steps:

1.Register with a chartered accountant ASAP. Just get your name on his or her books for now. If you are late with everything else, they will be able to apply for extensions on your behalf.

2. Do your books. If you have questions, you can easily make an anonymous call to the ATO and ask for specific help. I can recommend this, as when I've asked my accountant questions, it usually costs me over $250 , and he doesn't always know the answers.

3. See your accountant and make repayment arrangements with the ATO if they are required.

Hope some of that helps. Most of this information is on the ATO web site.
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Old 10-20-2008
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$50K TO is very different to $50K profit. Dont sweat too much just yet.

MY margins are in the range of 500-1500% and havent been done yet.
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Old 10-30-2008
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GST is turnover, best advice is run about 10 limited companies, u can avoid GST for a while.
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Old 10-30-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSD View Post
GST is turnover, best advice is run about 10 limited companies, u can avoid GST for a while.
The most sensible advice is to have an accountant to ensure all is correct for
taxation purposes. The forum is not here for advice to avoid tax.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSD View Post
GST is turnover, best advice is run about 10 limited companies, u can avoid GST for a while.
I must admit, that sounds outlandish to me. If you structured things in such a way, yearly company registration costs alone would start at something like $7500, and you'd have to provide monthly business activity statements for all ten companies. That's a huge amount of paper work to be doing instead of selling stuff. Also, your accountant would charge fees per tax return, and that could easily tally up to another $12,000 or more per year.

For all the time and money that would cost, you may as well have paid your GST.
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Old 12-19-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by serena View Post
I must admit, that sounds outlandish to me. If you structured things in such a way, yearly company registration costs alone would start at something like $7500, and you'd have to provide monthly business activity statements for all ten companies. That's a huge amount of paper work to be doing instead of selling stuff. Also, your accountant would charge fees per tax return, and that could easily tally up to another $12,000 or more per year.

For all the time and money that would cost, you may as well have paid your GST.
If you run more than 2 limited companies its classed as grouping. You need to make sure that you have different main share holders in every 2 companies or its illeagal.

My accountant told me this.
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If I were to use an Australian registered ebay but live overseas and sell to overseas, what would be the requirements in this case?

Thanks
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Hey Sammi,

Any updates??
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