This week HMRC has released more details about its big plans to digitalise the UK tax system, while eBay has launched Local eBay and myHermes have changed their pricing. We’ve brought together all the important ecommerce news that you need to know about, and how it could affect your online business.
Small businesses exempt from quarterly tax returns
Earlier this week, 15 August, the government announced that around 1.3 million small businesses will be exempt from having to submit quarterly tax returns, and keep their records digitally. The plans to phase in quarterly tax returns were first announced in late 2015 as part of the government's ‘Make Tax Digital’ initiative and were originally intended to apply to all businesses and self-employed.
Concerns have been raised by small businesses about the cost of digital accounting software, and the time needed to fill out tax returns four times a year. Now HMRC has announced plans to exempt smaller businesses with an annual turnover of less than £10,000, as well as some businesses above that threshold, from the new quarterly, digital tax requirements.
HMRC has released 6 consultation documents, to get feedback on the plans to digitalise the tax system, including ‘Making Tax Digital for Business - An overview for small businesses, the self-employed and smaller landlords’.
In this document, HMRC proposes that “all unincorporated businesses and landlords with gross income/annual turnover below £10,000 are exempt from the new obligations. We also propose to defer implementation for a limited group of unincorporated businesses and landlords with an annual turnover above that threshold. We are consulting on the appropriate income threshold for exemption and on how eligibility for deferral should be defined”.
It also states, “those who genuinely cannot use digital tools will not be forced to do so under Making Tax Digital and we have exempted them entirely from the new obligations.
You can respond to these consultation documents online or in writing until 7 November 2016.
Local eBay launched on eBay UK
eBay UK have launched Local eBay, which is encouraging local collection for eBay sales, and promoting sales within local communities. Using the Local eBay page you can select a category and enter a specific item you’re looking for, then enter your postcode and select a distance of either 2 miles or 5 miles from your location. eBay displays the search results as pins on a map, or as a gallery view.
To take advantage of eBay encouraging buyers to shop locally, make sure you tick ‘Offer local collection’ under the ‘How you’ll post’ section when you’re listing items.
eBay adds more countries to Global Shipping Program
After adding 37 more countries to it’s UK Global Shipping Program in July, this month eBay is adding another six. The Global Shipping Program allows sellers to easily ship to a number of countries, by sending their products to eBay’s processing centre in the UK once it’s been purchased. eBay then sends it to the buyer, handling all the paperwork and cost of shipping abroad.
This month eBay UK is adding Estonia, Latvia, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates.
myHermes changes prices for parcels under 2kg
On 17 August, myHermes changed its pricing by combining the 0-1kg and 1-2kg weight bands, they now have two 0-2kg categories based on the size of the parcel, small or medium.
- Parcels under 2kg that measure less than 45cm x 35cm x 16cm will be classed as small and cost £2.75 to send from a Parcel Shop, or £3.10 for courier collection.
- Bigger parcels that are over these measurements but still weigh less than 2kg will now fall under the 0-2kg medium category and cost £3.95 from a Parcel Shop, or £4.30 for courier collection.
The changes will only affect you if you use the “send a parcel” process. If you import orders from eBay or Amazon, or you upload a CSV file, then you will still be using the old pricing. The changes also won’t affect Business Account holders, and if you send items over 2kg there is no change to the process or the pricing.