The Taxman Cometh: Canadian Government Planning on Auditing eBay Sellers

The Taxman Cometh: Canadian Government Planning on Auditing eBay Sellers
Did you by chance sell off a huge collection of vinyl or CDs on eBay in, say, 2004 or 2005? Well, if the Canada Revenue Agency has its way, you'll be paying taxes on any major eBay hauls from here on in.

Federal Revenue Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn has told Canwest News Service that the feds plan to begin a round of audits within weeks that will go after big-time Canadian eBay sellers.

Had a gold star on your eBay seller's account for years now? Watch out. The first round of audits will target anyone who sold over $1,000 U.S. per month for three consecutive months in 2004 and 2005.

Information on high volume eBay sellers was obtained after a lengthy legal battle over privacy issues, including an appeal by eBay. The website unsuccessfully fought against the disclosure of their members' personal and account information to the Canadian government, saying it was stored on a database outside of Canada. On November 7 of last year, the government obtained a list of 5,000 individual eBay members or companies and their online transactions.

"Within a month we will start the audit process, one by one, to determine whether these people [on the eBay list] declared their revenues on their tax returns in 2004 and 2005," Blackburn told Canwest. "If they haven't done so, it's certain that we will send them a new notice of assessment with penalties." He also said the court decision opens the doors for the government to obtain eBay transaction records from subsequent years as well.

So, if you eBay-ed off a few crusty punk seven-inches that your dirty roommate left behind when he moved out a few years ago, you're probably in the clear. But if you sold a record collection like the one Rob stumbles upon in High Fidelty, the taxman might be knocking at your door.