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The Canadian Taxman Goes Browsing on eBay

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the don't-get-any-ideas-uncle-sam dept.

The Almighty Buck 221

Kaneda2112 writes "A story in the Globe And Mail points out that the Canada Revenue Agency is now trolling eBay Canada for high volume sellers — looking to make sure eBay's biggest users are accurately reporting their income. They've successfully gotten a court order for the names, addresses, and other personal information for that website's biggest users. 'Canadians spend about $5-billion online each year and eBay is by far the largest electronic marketplace, accounting for about a quarter of the total sales. The site was visited by nearly 11 million Canadians in August, according to company figures. The CRA said in court filings that it is targeting people who qualified for eBay's PowerSeller program in 2004 and 2005. Only top eBay sellers can qualify for the program, which provides benefits to members. Those benefits include prioritized customer service, special promotions and sales tips.'"

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221 comments

Who is Driving? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20769109)

Bear is driving!
How can that be (first post)?

Please? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20769143)

I'm a bored housewife....I need to talk to spark my life up.
call me!!!
(740) 354-2095
(740) 352-0322 (Private Celly)

Mention my myspace page, and I just might show you my (.)(.)!!!!

http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendID=108370887 [myspace.com]

Re:Please? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20770401)

Lamest troll evar!!

Douchbag doesn't even know enough to use D-cups. ( . )( . )

Extending the list... (4, Funny)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769175)

Those benefits include prioritized customer service, special promotions and sales tips.
...and a free tax inspection.

Are you telling me... (2, Funny)

locokamil (850008) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769205)

... that there are actually 11 million Canadians? Does this figure include moose and grizzly bears?

Re:Are you telling me... (1, Informative)

Nos. (179609) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769459)

Yes, in fact there are 33 million (or so) of us. And yes, our dollar is worth almost as much, or more than the USD currently. We don't say "eh" at the end of ever sentence, and we do have a military, but we focus on peace keeping, not peace making.

Re:Are you telling me... (4, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769719)

As a hillbilly, I would like to add that, unlike Canadians, the stereotypes about us ARE true.

Re:Are you telling me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20770285)

Speak for yourself hoser! I only know, like maybe 1000 Canadians, so there's no way there's more than maybe double that. And we're all out in Afghanistan there, making peace and whatnot, eh. But I'm interrupting my game of Beer Hunter Solitaire, so I'm going to get back to that.

Take off eh!

Re:Are you telling me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20770409)

our dollar is worth almost as much, or more than the USD currently

Not to nitpick, but the Canadian dollar still doesn't buy as much as the USD. (Prices in Canada are quite unfair). So by that measure, the Canadian dollar is still "worth" less. Sure you can exchange it for USD on a 1:1 basis, and shop south of the border, but that's sidestepping the issue.

The amazing thing, really, is that despite the US dollar's fall in the exchange rates, I haven't seen a difference in the prices I pay. That was quite a neat trick by whoever engineered it.

Well anyway, I sincerely hope you hosers stop getting hosed (with regards to prices). :-)

Re:Are you telling me... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20770567)

We don't say "eh" at the end of ever[y] sentence . . .

Not every sentence - just the one's ending with questionmarks.

Re:Are you telling me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20769885)

Idiot! Canada is the second biggest state after California (going my population)

Re:Are you telling me... (1)

Emetophobe (878584) | more than 6 years ago | (#20770271)

The first thing I thought when I read the summary was aren't there only ~33 million Canadians? So they're saying 11 million or 1/3rd of the population used Ebay in August? Somehow I find that extremely hard to believe.

Makes sense (5, Insightful)

TofuMatt (1105351) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769209)

Most businesses I've bought from on eBay, even Canadian ones, who have stores, may be Powersellers, and are clearing operating like any other (online) consumer electronics business in Canada (selling, mostly new, goods to end-users) don't charge me federal sales tax. I mean, taxes suck, but they also pay for my healthcare, used to pay for my education, and I do a lot of work for the Government, so I realize that taxes ought be collected. I sound like such a commie, but I'm not. Anyway, I guess this is good. I don't want eBay business to dwindle, but they should be treated the same as Apple Canada or TigerDirect.ca. What else is there to say? Business, big or small, shouldn't be trying to dodge tax.

Re:Makes sense (1)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769247)

I don't want eBay business to dwindle, but they should be treated the same as Apple Canada or TigerDirect.ca
Yeah, and that is: without being forced to pay any taxes.

Ya, because we all know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20769691)

that Apple Canada and TD don't pay taxes! No, they're not "forced" to, well, because they never started business with the errant notion of ever NOT paying taxes. Jeez!

The Law (3, Insightful)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769337)

Having helped my folks set up their own small home business, I learned a few things about tax law. There are two types of corporation - provincial corporations and federal corporations. As a provincial corporation, you only need to charge your customers GST, not the local PST.

This sort of, kind of bugs me. The law behind this was written in a day and age where it's rare for provincial businesses to trade outside their borders, and even if they do it's a minor part of their income, a drop in the proverbial bucket. But huge businesses like NCIX are still registered in BC, even though they make millions in sales to other provinces (especially Ontario) - and that's a MASSIVE chunk of PST missing, not to mention that it creates an unfair playing field for local businesses. I know many Ontarians who go to NCIX just to skip out on the PST, and it's arguably stealing business from local, er, businesses.

IMHO if the majority of your operations are not in your home province you ought to be forced to incorporate federally and be forced to follow the local tax laws wherever you operate (in Canada at least!).

Re:The Law (2, Informative)

compwizrd (166184) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769379)

at least businesses are required to self-assess and remit the PST when they buy from a non-local supplier

Re:The Law (2, Informative)

Nos. (179609) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769843)

Every business still needs to charge its customers PST if they are selling in province. So if I'm in BC, and buy from NCIX, I have to pay PST. If I'm out of province, I don't. This is true across the country.

Re:The Law (1)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#20770403)

Sorry, I guess I'm still half-asleep. What I meant to say was that provincial businesses do not have to charge Ontario PST to customers purchasing from ON.

Re:The Law (1)

Nos. (179609) | more than 6 years ago | (#20770597)

You can really expect a business in one province to calculate and collect taxes for another province though. For one, there's no jurisdiction.

Re:The Law (1)

heelrod (124784) | more than 6 years ago | (#20770417)

speaking of law and taxes, can someone tell me where it actually says in the "Law" that we have to pay taxes? cant seem to find that. There is a "Tax Law", as in there a laws on how much your supposed to pay, but where is the law that says American citizens are required to pay taxes to the government?

Re:Makes sense (1)

icebrain (944107) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769465)

I just don't understand why government feels the need to tax everything repeatedly... I mean, you get taxed on your income on payday. Fine. Then, you go out and get $thing, and pay a tax when you buy it. The entity you bought it from also pays tax. On top of that, some things you pay taxes (property, ad valorem, etc.) on even after buying it. And even after that, if you sell said item, legally it counts as income, and you have to pay again!

Someone stated in another discussion that the government splits up taxation into all of these separate things to hide how much we're really paying, and that if we saw how much of our income really went to the government, then we'd flip out and be all "holy shit, taxes are too high!" He might be on to something...

Re:Makes sense (4, Insightful)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769597)

Does it matter? Straightforward or hidden, complicated or simple, you end up paying the same amount in the end. If you want to support public healthcare, education, etc etc, you better be prepared to pay up.

I dislike how most people equate taxes to Bad Thing(tm). You really want to pay for healthcare yourself? Say you're rich and make 6-7 figures, you want to deal with the ensuing crime problems when poor people can't afford to? You want 40% of your health care costs to line the pockets of execs, or do you actually want medical care for that money? There are places where socialization is appropriate, and there are places it is not. For the most part IMHO the Canadian gov't does a good job at most things, and I'm happy to pay my taxes, because I know I will suffer if the gov't suddenly stopped taxing us, either directly or indirectly.

Re:Makes sense (1)

jcgf (688310) | more than 6 years ago | (#20770007)

You want 40% of your health care costs to line the pockets of execs, or do you actually want medical care for that money?

Yeah I'm sure the government is totally clean and uses all tax money altruistically for us citizens.

Re:Makes sense (1)

FredFnord (635797) | more than 6 years ago | (#20770647)

Yeah, I'm sure that your health insurance company is totally clean and uses all of their premiums to pay for medical care for its subscribers.

What? Record profits? Record number of claims denied? Record number of people uninsured due to preexisting conditions or high risk status?

-fred

Re:Makes sense (1)

fmoliveira (979051) | more than 6 years ago | (#20770203)

Come here to the 3rd world, were we pay most of the few bucks we can make, and in the health care you die waiting in a queue, if you're rich enough to have a car the roads are full of roles, or crowded, education is laughable, etc, etc. Then you will start to think about where all that tax money goes.

Re:Makes sense (1)

Ana10g (966013) | more than 6 years ago | (#20770385)

If you want to support public healthcare,

What about those of us who do not want to support these things? Instead of saying "healthcare's really expensive, the Government must pay for it because the citizens are too broke", should we be saying "Why is healthcare so expensive?" and looking into streamlining it? I don't think you could convince me that there isn't any fat to be trimmed out of the healthcare system, either.

Personally, I'm trying like hell to keep a system like your Canadian Socialized Medicine out of my country (the good ol' USA), so it doesn't bankrupt us. Don't want to make the downfall of our Government take place any faster than it already is!

Re:Makes sense (1)

heelrod (124784) | more than 6 years ago | (#20770623)

yea, well we just got a check from the man for 160 Fuckin Billion Fuckin Dollars to take care of some other country for a year, and your worried about health care bankrupting us!

It's priorities, not money.

We're rich bitch! We just spend it on stupid shit.

Re:Makes sense (5, Insightful)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#20770653)

If sacrificing a few dollars of my hard-earned income will reduce crime in the streets, enable the poor to pull themselves out of poverty, and give opportunity to those who have none, then by all means I will support it. After all, a prosperous, safe, and productive country is good for all Canadians.

See, the thing you're not getting about public health care is that... nobody's saying "the gov't must pay for it because the citizens are too broke", because 100% of our health care dollars come out of taxes in the first place. The population *is* paying for this, the money isn't falling out of some money tree somewhere, and overwhelmingly our public health care (designed for everyone) costs far less than the American equivalent (which doesn't even serve most of the population, only the poor), and on the whole has far better care.

I am willing to bet, strongly, that if you calculate the average lifetime investment by a Canadian into health care (in the form of taxes paid), it will cost far less than what the average American pays for his health care, and on the whole it will be on-par, if not better, than the care Americans receive. After all, 40% of your health insurance premiums go into "administration", whereas this number is closer to 4-5% in Canada, IIRC. Ceteris paribus, on that fact alone our health care will cost some 30% less.

It's funny how you claim that public health care will bankrupt your country. We've had this system for decades, and the Canadian government has been well into the black for the past few years, and we're running a trade surplus. Our currency is appreciating (for better or for worse), and we're well on the way to paying off all that debt we accumulated during the boondoggle of the 90s. Compared with your nation, who is dangerously in debt (per capita-wise higher than ANY debt Canada had ever run, and I thought we had it bad in the 90s), currency is falling against ALL other major world currencies... It seems like you guys are the ones on the road to bankruptcy, and you're not even getting free health care out of it!

I dont' get the classic American aversion to nationalized health care - I suspect it's a holdover from the "oh no, socialism/communism is EEEEEVIL!" conditioning of past years, but seriously, you people are ALREADY paying for your health care system, paying a MASSIVE overhead on top of the actual cost of health care to the insurance companies... A nationalized system won't be perfect, and obviously government bureaucracy is not the most efficient spending mechanism in the world, but it's a heck of a lot better than what you've got now. We Canadians can keep our overhead to 4-5%, there's no reason why you Americans can't do the same, and pocket the other 35% to improve the prosperity of your people.

Re:Makes sense (1)

pla (258480) | more than 6 years ago | (#20770439)

If you want to support public healthcare, education, etc etc, you better be prepared to pay up.

Many of us don't want to support those things, though.


I dislike how most people equate taxes to Bad Thing(tm)

I dislike paying them to support your favorite pet causes.


Whether paying for a war of aggression far far away, or for healthcare for people too lazy to take care of their own bodies, or for drug law enforcement, or bailing out failing obsolete industries... I don't just "not want to", I find it outright offensive that the bulk of my tax dollars go to causes that I absolutely oppose on both moral and practical grounds.

If you want to support a failing school system, you pay for it. If you want healthcare, buy insurance for yourself. If you want to help bail out Buggy-Whips-R-Us, you can send them a donation. See the pattern there?

Re:Makes sense (1)

myawn (562028) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769725)

Yes, they shouldn't keep taxing the same money every time it changes hands. The government should just take their percentage directly as it rolls off the printing presses, and be done with it. (tongue planted firmly in cheek, if that's not obvious)

Re:Makes sense (1)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | more than 6 years ago | (#20770105)

Yes, they shouldn't keep taxing the same money every time it changes hands. The government should just take their percentage directly as it rolls off the printing presses, and be done with it. (tongue planted firmly in cheek, if that's not obvious)

Don't know why you said that tongue-in-cheek; it seemed like a good idea to me. At least that way they can set the money aside while it's still in their hands, rather than taking it by force after it's been distributed. As a side benefit such a system would eliminate all the reporting and enforcement costs associated with regular taxes. It also divides the cost of government spending almost perfectly across the economy -- all money is devalued exactly the same amount -- and puts the focus on the amount spent, which is more significant economically than the amount collected since spending is much more focused on particular areas.

The only downside, of course, is the inevitable inflation, but they don't seem to have a problem with causing inflation at present and it seems to me that you'd get a similar result (higher real, inflation-adjusted prices) from any attempt to divert production toward less economically efficient goals, which is all government spending really accomplishes in the end. If they're going to manipulate the market they might as well do it by the least intrusive means possible.

Re:Makes sense (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769923)

When it comes to taxes and government, just keep one aspect of the mafia in mind. They want their cut. And we have the legal obligation to give them said cut.

Re:Makes sense (2, Interesting)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 6 years ago | (#20770025)

> if we saw how much of our income really went to the government, then we'd flip
> out and be all "holy shit, taxes are too high!" He might be on to something...

This is why I truly appreciate Brian Mulroney.

If nothing else, he got rid of a hidden, difficult-to-navigate tax and replaced with a tax that is clearly visible at the cash register. Harper, on the other hand, has earned by disdain because I know TANSAAFL.

I think ALL tax, wherever possible, should be a separate line item on the bill. Especially fuel taxes. Gas is, what, 30-40 cents a litre before taxes? Have you ever noticed there is a separate line item for tax on liquor in Ontario (sometimes)?

Another thing, I think ALL people should read their pay stubs. My stupid-assed kid won't even check to see if they've added her hours correctly! Every two weeks, she checks her bank balance and it's like Christmas! No idea what's coming from her job, just "oooh, look! I have money again!"

*argh* !!!

Re:Makes sense (1, Flamebait)

Bastard of Subhumani (827601) | more than 6 years ago | (#20770293)

My stupid-assed kid won't even check to see if they've added her hours correctly!
That's because most of her income isn't hourly and doesn't appear on her payslip. I'm talking bills tucked into garters here. Sorry to break it to you like that, but it's better finding out like this than walking into a titty bar and seeing her.

Re:Makes sense (1)

boudie2 (1134233) | more than 6 years ago | (#20770331)

I truly appreciate Brian Mulroney as well. Anybody who sold out his country,
actually more than doubled the amount of taxes Canadians paid while telling
us they were being reduced, made millions of dollars in consulting and legal
fees for multi-national friends of his like Monsanto, got away with getting
kickbacks not only for himself, but all his buddies and sued the RCMP for
two million for suggesting same and has a foot in today's present Conservative
government where they are carrying on his legacy and making us a military power/
mini American colony.
Well, you've got to truly appreciate him, as someone like that doesn't come
along every day. (And being drunk almost the entire time he was doing all
the above only makes me appreciate him more). God bless Canada.

Re:Makes sense (1)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 6 years ago | (#20770565)

You know, your description makes him sound like a regular, run-of-the-mill politician and nothing at all special. In fact, I'll bet I could change less than 20 words in your diatribe, and make it describe any PM since Sir John A. MacDonald (and especially him).

I think reminding consumers that they need to watch what their government is doing each and every time they buy something should be lauded.

I truly believe that the GST was the wake-up call many people in this country needed. Transparency in ALL government matters should be our first priority. That is the ONLY way we will get good government (if that's even possible).

Re:Makes sense (1)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 6 years ago | (#20770201)

I don't understand your objection. There are different taxes because there are different activities, and the government attempts to collect the money it needs while simultanously rewarding some behavior and fitting within various people's sense of right and wrong. To explain each tax...

  • Income Tax: Absent a progressive income tax, it would be impossible to finance the government, period. A flat tax rate would have to starve poor people to fund the government (flat tax proponents claim they can save enough money by cutting waste that this is not the case. However, why wait to cut the waste, cut it first, then we can talk.)
  • Sales Tax: Besides being gathered by more local authorities, and sold as a way to tax out-of-area people, the sales tax encourages saving. However, a sales tax cannot be progressive, so a balance must be struck between sales and income tax. Evidence that sales taxes are designed to encourage saving and otherwise influence buying patterens is in the different rates for different types of goods.
  • Property Tax: Since property is finite, and there are various philisophical and religious objections to permentently owning land, this is the government's way of returning land to the public domain, at least metaphysically. In theory, this could be predicted in advance, and the entire sum charged once, but that would benefit no one, especially since so many numbers are subject to change (value, the projected time value of money, etc)
  • Estate Tax: Rich dead people seem like the ideal people to tax. But beyond that, it's the transfer of wealth that is being taxed, not that person. That is, taxes only must be paid by Person A on what they get from Person B's Estate. Seems fair.
  • Capital Gains Tax: If you sell something for more than you bought it for, you pay a tax on the difference. It seems quite unfair (to me) that this is taxed at a lower rate than income. However, the law seeks to heuristically decide if you invested for long-term goals or as a daytrader by how long you held the asset, and charges you different rates based on this.

Re:Makes sense (1)

Ana10g (966013) | more than 6 years ago | (#20770559)

and sold as a way to tax out-of-area people,
Actually, a lot of jurisdictions have laws requiring that out of area persons paying sales tax be refunded for the tax paid. Until recently, it looks like the entire State of Canada had this on the books as well, though it seems to be changing: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tax/nonresidents/visitors/qa-e.html [cra-arc.gc.ca]

the sales tax encourages saving
Bullshit. Find me one person that said "I'm going to save money because my sales tax is higher." That's total crap, used as propaganda. There are reasons for a sales tax, but that sure as hell isn't one of them.

Re:Makes sense (2, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769783)

I mean, taxes suck, but they also pay for my healthcare, used to pay for my education, and I do a lot of work for the Government, so I realize that taxes ought be collected.
So maybe taxes don't suck? They pay for things most of us like and use... Do you like driving on reasonably nice roads more than your iPod? Is a reasonably sane national healthcare plan more valuable to you than, say, Halo3? Would your prefer allowing crack-heads to cart of your TV, or perhaps you would like a latte instead?

There's nothing wrong with the idea of taxes, it's just that sometimes our taxes get spent on things we the public don't approve of.

The problem is not taxes, it's that your chosen representatives in government are not always representing their constituents. It is these people that are the problem...

Re:Makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20769951)

I mean, taxes suck, but they also pay for my healthcare, used to pay for my education, and I do a lot of work for the Government, so I realize that taxes ought be collected.
You sound like you are a fat leech on society, feeding on people who actually earn thei money and benefits.

Re:Makes sense (1)

Prairiewest (719875) | more than 6 years ago | (#20770205)

Actually, I've had almost the opposite experience. Most (not all, but most) of the Canadian sellers that I've purchased from on eBay have stated right in their auctions that GST will be charged. And they do. And I'm fine with paying it. Perhaps it's because I usually buy from established sellers, but since these are the sellers that the CRA is targeting, I think many of them will do fine on their audits.

Re:Makes sense (1)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 6 years ago | (#20770319)

Yeah taxes sucks, and it sucks that some guy buying a new skidoo on ebay.ca had to pay for your education, your health care etc.

Fair enough (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20769233)

Why shouldn't they declare their tax. As long as that info isn't supposed to be private I don't see this as all that bad.

Slow news day? (4, Interesting)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769245)

I'm really failing to see how this is an issue at all, as businesses get audited all the time. If you're throwing around a lot of money, it's no surprise that the taxman is going to raise an eyebrow.

This is nothing more than an audit and a crackdown on unregistered businesses. In other words, the Canada Revenue Agency is doing its job (this concept may be unfamiliar to Americans when relating to governmental agencies)

If you're operating a business, then you should be paying taxes as such. Plain and simple.

Unfamiliar to Americans (4, Funny)

benhocking (724439) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769345)

This is nothing more than an audit and a crackdown on unregistered businesses. In other words, the Canada Revenue Agency is doing its job (this concept may be unfamiliar to Americans when relating to governmental agencies)

Absolutely. The number one complaint we Americans have is that the IRS doesn't do its job. We all think that it doesn't audit enough people and would be truly satisfied with it if only it were more thorough.

Re:Unfamiliar to Americans (2, Insightful)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769815)

Absolutely. The number one complaint we Americans have is that the IRS doesn't do its job. We all think that it doesn't audit enough people and would be truly satisfied with it if only it were more thorough.

That changes when the people being asked are the ones being audited. Everyone's in favor of making sure the other guy pays his fair share, but that opinion changes rather quickly when they become the other guy.

Sarcasm (2, Insightful)

benhocking (724439) | more than 6 years ago | (#20770215)

Actually, my entire post was meant to be read with a tone of sarcasm, as the moderators who modded it funny evidently realized.

Re:Slow news day? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20769359)

And if you're working (you need to work to live unless you're rich) you need to take it up the ass. So if you live, you need to get fucked- great system you morons. Fuck your services, I'll live in the gutter and leech off society with prison stays. It's the only effective form of protest.

Re:Slow news day? (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769711)

he Canada Revenue Agency is doing its job (this concept may be unfamiliar to Americans when relating to governmental agencies)


You know what they say, the most efficient part of any government is the department that takes your money. The CRA is run less aggressively then the IRS so it's not as confrontational.

Re:Slow news day? (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769787)

In other words, the Canada Revenue Agency is doing its job (this concept may be unfamiliar to Americans when relating to governmental agencies)

Yes, it is a little unusual. Around here (the USA) the government usually sits around not doing much and charging us an awful lot for it, while blustering around trying to look busy. When the government actually does do something it's usually incorrect, wrong, over-reaching, or just plain stupid. And, of course, if anyone actually criticizes the government they're branded as some kind of dissident or terrorist.

So...yeah...the idea of the government actually doing what it is supposed to seems a little unusual to me...

Re:Slow news day? (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769827)

In other words, the Canada Revenue Agency is doing its job (this concept may be unfamiliar to Americans when relating to governmental agencies)

You surely understand that we're a bit anti-tax, yes? Hell, the US born of a tax revolt, and we (by and large) haven't really gotten that out of our system (pretty much everything from the Whiskey Rebellion to present-day anti-tax dodges and enterprises). So it's natural that we're a bit stranger than most when it comes to taxes. ;)

As for bureaucrats not doing their job (but being shocked when they do)? I suspect that you'll find that to be rather common world-wide. Canada is one of those weird places whose gov't functionaries actually adhere to duty, which kinda scares the crap out of the rest of us (plus it perpetuates a whole lot of bad stereotypes... you really need to stop doing that).

/P

The Candian government (1)

canuck57 (662392) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769291)

The Canadian government smells money, they make a grizzly look like a woosie.
--------------
Don't steal, the government hates competition.

Maybe it's because I'm British, or a socialist.. (4, Interesting)

onion2k (203094) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769293)

don't-get-any-ideas-uncle-sam

Maybe it's just me, a lefty liberal socialist Brit, but I don't really understand the mentality behind the 'humourous' tagline here. Selling stuff on eBay means you're earning money. Why shouldn't it be taxed like any other income? Ok, someone selling a couple of DVDs isn't really going to make any dent in the government's revenue, but there are powersellers on eBay with a turnover to rival a large highstreet store, all tax free if you're a bit underhand about it. That's not a good thing. That's a few more potholes in the road, one less nurse looking after you in hospital, a few less books in the school library. Tax evaders aren't Robin Hood*, they're plain old criminals.

If you give a damn about the quality of your community you probably ought to welcome Uncle Sam getting ideas along the same lines.

* English folk hero, robbed from the rich to give to the poor, portrayed very poorly in film by Kevin Costner.

Re:Maybe it's because I'm British, or a socialist. (4, Interesting)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769371)

Win.

Yeah I don't get it either. The basic logic works like this, "I was getting away with it before, don't change/enforce the law so I can't continue my bad practices!"

It's like when they put in speed/redlight cameras. The majority of people who bitch are the very people the gear is meant to catch. And they're not really pissed off because of the supposed violation of privacy, it's because they know they won't get away with their previously bad behaviour.

I for one welcome this. I think there should be a discretion though, I mean if I fail to report the $13 toy I sold on ebay last year I shouldn't face prison time. But if you're doing [say] more than $1000/year in sales it should be mandatory.

Re:Maybe it's because I'm British, or a socialist. (0, Troll)

garcia (6573) | more than 6 years ago | (#20770239)

The majority of people who bitch are the very people the gear is meant to catch. And they're not really pissed off because of the supposed violation of privacy, it's because they know they won't get away with their previously bad behaviour.

Bullshit. Those cameras are there to increase government revenue plain and simple. After the initial installation cost there is very little additional cost needed to keep the money rolling in. If they were required to put a human police officer at every intersection they felt warranted a camera, the cost ratio would decrease to a point where it wouldn't be worth it to them anymore and thus unnecessary in the first place.

If they want to protect us from the evils of speeding and yellow-light/red-light running, then they ought to be prepared to pony up the dough for a uniformed police officer to stand there 24/7/365 to catch those evil people and write them a ticket. Otherwise, keep your fucking nose out of everyone else's business.

Legal theory (1)

benhocking (724439) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769393)

Basically, we Americans are all for closing tax loopholes — except the ones that we might be able to use. As this is a tech-heavy site, I suppose many Slashdotters make money off eBay.

Re:Legal theory (1)

t0rkm3 (666910) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769705)

I don't know about you, but I'm for closing _all_ tax loopholes. I would like to see a simplified tax code that makes it usable to the common man. If you plan to make money, esp while operating a business, you should consult an accountant for taxes at least. If not for other issues such as payroll, account management, etc.

Why should there be an industry that does nothing but keep you out of trouble with overly complex laws? Would we tolerate such complexity in vehicle codes?

It would take some getting used to, but I think the Fair Tax looks better every time I think about it.

Fair Tax (1)

benhocking (724439) | more than 6 years ago | (#20770183)

I was just being humorous. I am in favor of closing all loopholes. That said, the Fair Tax looks more questionable every time I look into its details. I don't have anything against it, but its proponents seem to engage in an awful lot of hand-waving. (Everyone will pay less tax, but we'll have the exact same tax revenue!)

Re:Maybe it's because I'm British, or a socialist. (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769565)

They probably already got the idea with the minor difference that they are doing it under the antiterror legislation so Ebay cannot say that it has been queried.

After all, if you possess such a wonderful piece of legislation, why not use it for purposes it was never designed for.

Re:Maybe it's because I'm British, or a socialist. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20769689)

You do not have the right to other peoples money. Deal with it you scum bag. You are the scum of the earth. You think you're entitled to things you have not earned. No wonder your country sucks. It's full of idiots like you that want to punish those who earn and reward those who do not.

Re:Maybe it's because I'm British, or a socialist. (0)

fyoder (857358) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769797)

Extortion is wrong, even when the government does it, allegedly for essential and even noble ends (unless you believe ends justify means). Sales and luxury taxes on non-essential items could be regarded as less evil, since there's a means to avoid them -- don't buy stuff that's so taxed. But if you're a seller compelled to collect it on behalf of the government you might have some reasonable reservations. People who evade extortion aren't Robin Hoods (even if they gave what they saved from extortion to the poor, it would be their own money), and where income tax evasion is a criminal offense they are indeed criminals, but I wish I had their guts rather than meekly giving in to government extortion every year.

Re:Maybe it's because I'm British, or a socialist. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20769997)

The liberal mind does not understand that goverment theft is no different that individual theft. They are tools.

Re:Maybe it's because I'm British, or a socialist. (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769869)

Maybe it's just me, a lefty liberal socialist Brit, but I don't really understand the mentality behind the 'humourous' tagline here. Selling stuff on eBay means you're earning money. Why shouldn't it be taxed like any other income? Ok, someone selling a couple of DVDs isn't really going to make any dent in the government's revenue, but there are powersellers on eBay with a turnover to rival a large highstreet store, all tax free if you're a bit underhand about it. That's not a good thing. That's a few more potholes in the road, one less nurse looking after you in hospital, a few less books in the school library. Tax evaders aren't Robin Hood*, they're plain old criminals.
Agreed. Income is income. No, I don't really think the government should be going after every kid with a lemonade stand...but some of these eBay sellers are huge. I actually support one of them...they sell DVDs and CDs on eBay... They've got four servers set up to automate the whole process, chattering away with eBay all day long, looking up pricing and ordering from their suppliers. The whole thing is a pretty slick operation. They've got a half-dozen employees and someone in Hawaii writing custom code for them. They're obviously making money - why shouldn't it be taxed?

If you give a damn about the quality of your community you probably ought to welcome Uncle Sam getting ideas along the same lines.
The problem is really how that money is going to be spent... It really doesn't seem like Uncle Sam does a very good job of allocating funds these days. An awfully large part of it will likely go to fight a war that folks don't want...another good chunk will be awarded to rebuilding contractors with ties to government officials...and only a very small portion of it will affect the quality of my community.

are you kidding? (1)

ArchieBunker (132337) | more than 6 years ago | (#20770133)

The government probably pisses away more money per day than all the power sellers combined. I LIKE when people figure out ways to cheat the govt. The govt is probably cheating you as we speak, I'll be completely honest whenever they decide to disclose where every penny goes.

Re:Maybe it's because I'm British, or a socialist. (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#20770353)

Well, I guess a lot of people here will agree, even more will disagree and some (ok, I) will say "I would agree if".

And that if is, if that money would actually be used for the good of all. Yes, I'm (or rather, was) actually a "tax 'em fuckers" person. More tax == good. The actual Robin Hood IS in this case the state. Or should be. More tax means more social balance and fewer criminals (along the theory of "people who have something to lose are wary to lose it"). In theory.

In fact, with the crooked, inapt, spineless, bend-over-to-corps governments we now have in place, I loathe paying a cent of tax, knowing it will be blown for either some kickbacks to politician supporters or politicians waste it themselves for their own pet projects which usually consist of more surveillance and more war. Neither of which actually is something I'd support.

If that money went into the projects you mention, more power to the taxmen (and women)! Since it doesn't, more power to those that manage to evade paying them!

Re:Maybe it's because I'm British, or a socialist. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20770531)

there are powersellers on eBay with a turnover to rival a large highstreet store, all tax free if you're a bit underhand about it. That's not a good thing.

If you spent more than about 6 months working in any significant civil service capacity in England, you'd realise that it's corrupt through and through. Consider the essential service (essential in the "you'll die if you don't get it" sense) that is healthcare: much of the nursing,cleaning,etc work is via agencies which skim off a good 50%, hospitals are no longer run in the day-to-day sense by senior doctors/sisters but instead by administrative staff (who in turn are responsible for choosing where to get those agency staff and for budgeting - see how the money flows?). When money is injected into a hospital, a diagram with many arrows will usually illustrate the money going straight into the bureaucrat's pockets, or as a cut via the services provided by contractors. Oh, and the house I'm living in now used to belong to an ass of a neurologist, who despite being medically very able, would make a good chunk on the side by offering private consultancy with near-immediate appointments to any patient he thought had substantial savings but little self-confidence (i.e. usually older patients).

I'm from a family comprising several doctors, nurses and other "healthcare workers"[tm], many of whom believe(d) in the founding aims on the NHS; all are/were driven to despair by how it has become corrupted in the last 25 years. When you avoid paying tax,you're denying a small proportion of that money from a needy individual, but a much greater proportion from a corrupt official. "Socialism" - though the word has been corrupted - is about the workers controlling the means of production. Since, in the example of healthcare I have given, it is management rather than workers that currently control the means of production, it is not socialist to pay taxes (it's not capitalist either, mind). If you are actually interested in supporting and advancing healthcare, get to know your local hospital's support associations - find out whether they need equipment, volunteers, etc. Find out if they're working with any local charities that could do with an extra few bob. But please, for the love of FSM, don't think that paying taxes is some magic guilt-reliever just because "in an ideal world" it might improve the lot of the less fortunate. Your heart is clearly in the right place, but those in whom you put your faith do not have your welfare in mind.

Dear Farmer Johnson (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20769313)

You have attempted to buy fertilizer in large quantities on eBay. This has drawn an inquiry from the government. Prepare to have your premises searched for any more explosive materials & terrorist contraband.

Your cooperation is not an option.

Sincerely,
Your Cannuck Government in cooperation with the US Dep. of Homeland Security

Not *THE* Tax man *A* tax man. (1)

4d4m (584216) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769339)

"The" tax man is just a little dehumanizing, thank you very much. (Some people are just sensitive about proper article use.)

Sensitivity (1)

benhocking (724439) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769425)

Some people are just sensitive about proper article use.
But, evidently, totally miss the gender-bias inherent in the title.

Re:Sensitivity (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769487)

What about the gender bias inherent in the word, Woman?

Re:Sensitivity (1)

bentcd (690786) | more than 6 years ago | (#20770167)

What about the gender bias inherent in the word, Woman?
Not to mention Carmen, mandatory, emancipation . . . I could go on forever!

Re:Sensitivity (1)

mcmonkey (96054) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769833)

But, evidently, totally miss the gender-bias inherent in the title.

Yeah, why equate tax collection with the female? Obviously the male tax collector would not waste time browsing and go right to the taxes to be collected.

Maybe it's a hunter vs gatherer thing.

Hmmm... (1, Offtopic)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769341)

And while they're at it, perhaps they could investigate some of the rampant fraud on eBay.

Re:Hmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20770495)

Thank you! You beat me to this point.

Everybody knows that there is fraud on ebay. Nobody (including ebay) is really doing anything to stop it. How about looking out for the customer's that are being scammed prior to chasing down tax revenue?

Wouldn't there be enough money in fines to help pay for the cost of Law Enforcement investigations?

ebay's Power Seller program (2, Informative)

spacerog (692065) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769453)

According to eBay
http://pages.ebay.com/services/buyandsell/welcome.html [ebay.com]

How do I qualify?

Each month eBay automatically sends email invitations to qualified sellers. To qualify, members must:

Have been an active member for 90 days
Average a minimum of $1000 in sales per month, for three consecutive months
Achieve an overall Feedback rating of 100, of which 98% or more is positive
Have an account in good financial standing

Although that is direct from the eBay site it is not 100% accurate. My experience indicates that invitations to the Power Seller program are based on quantity of items sold and not dollar amounts. Somewhere between 3 and 5 items per month for three or four consecutive months will trigger the invitation email. I get invitation emails quite a bit but never have I sold $1000 worth of stuff in any month let alone three consecutive months.

how will they know if eBay told them everything? (1, Offtopic)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769523)

Will the almighty tax collector know if eBay has told them everything? I hope eBay sets up a user database system that looks like a real system but in reality is not showing the entire picture.

I live in Canada and I am chocked by taxes, so I try to do everything in my power to avoid paying as much taxes as possible, it is my civil duty in fact to prevent the government from making me poor, so I wouldn't have to ask the gov't for help, which I do not. It is also important to prevent the gov't from getting all that money, so it would have to deal with what it can get it's hands on, making the gov't realize that they have to be efficient. Can you say I live in Toronto and I am majorly pissed off at the local municipalities? 7.5 Billion dollars a year in property and other taxes for the city and we still are on a verge of bankrupcy as a city with a mayor, who said explicitely that there are no other ways to deal with the problem but to raise taxes. This is an NDP mayor, I hope he chockes, honestly. Maybe then we'll be able to get someone in who'll dismantle the unions and will finally not have to pay $30/hour per union worker sitting on their asses. I want private garbage collection - this will save money.

Of-course the tax man in this article is a fed (or maybe provincial,) looking at income. Well, shiiiite, what, did they build eBay or smth? You know what will happen if this goes through? eBay will lose lot's of sellers who will go to other places, like craig's list. Well maybe finally we'll have more than one auction house on line.

Re:how will they know if eBay told them everything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20770569)

whoever marked the parent off-topic is a fucking idiot or a shill.

Funny observation on privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20769599)


- A website allows people to auction off items. Some people sell so much that it's a possibility they are evading large amounts of tax. The government cannot know for certain whether they are indeed evading tax, but it would indeed be very bad if they do so. Because site names are anonymous, they request the identities behind the usernames. The individuals identified will have their records checked.

- A website allows people to make posts. Some people make threatening posts that open up the possibility that they are going to committ criminal acts. The government cannot know for certain whether they are intending to committ criminal acts, but it would be very bad if they do so. Because site names are anonymous, they request the identities behind the usernames. The individuals identified will have their records checked.

Difference in... acceptability?

It strikes me that where the justification is checking for tax evasion, I would think that even if there are no limits to the methods employed (requesting usernames, forming databases, correlating information, tapping into financial transaction systems, wiretapping phones, bugging cars etc) it would still get no reactions at all from privacy advocates.

Re:Funny observation on privacy (1)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769657)

Why shouldn't law enforcement be allowed to request the true identities of people who are discussing clearly illegal acts online? If I claim loudly in an online forum that I'm going to blow up such-and-such a place, I fully expect it's within the police's duties to investigate the veracity of my claims, up to and including finding out my real name/address/whatever.

Re:Funny observation on privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20769839)

Agreed - however what if you one day discuss explosives, and the week after ask about large public buildings?

eBayers don't announce they evade taxes or plan to, it may be the case they are all reporting their sales legally, but details are taken to cover off the chance that they might be.

Re:Funny observation on privacy (1)

codegen (103601) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769909)

Difference in... acceptability?

No difference in evidence. If you have made a significant number of sales on Ebay, then there is prima facie evidence that you are in business and can be audited, just like any other business. There may be some question about validy of Ebay data such as someone signing up under a false identity, but I digress...

If you are making allusions to a criminal act, all you have is hearsay or possibly bravado. There is no prima facie evidence of any act.

But will it affect prices? (1)

popo (107611) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769647)

The interesting fallout from this will be the potential effect on prices. Many eBay sellers are cheaper than other merchants *because* they don't pay taxes. If this forces eBay merchant prices to rise, the overall effect could be a decline of sales/profits for eBay overall.

A story (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20769749)

Bending the lovely child over the toilet, I told her to be sick in it and started rubbing her back. I knew I didn't have long and no time at all for a lecture session like I'd had with Ben. I had either to take the risk that she might tell on me or simply not use this fantastic opportunity to molest an absolutely beautiful little girl. And, if I was going to do it, I had no more than about four or five minutes. With Elodie retching into the toilet bowl, I moved my stroking hand steadily down her back. In seconds, I'd reached beyond the waist of her little blue soft denim skirt and began rubbing her big bottom cheeks. She said nothing, as if she hadn't noticed. With one hand, I lifted the hem of her skirt and pulled it up above her waist, resting it on her back. Those wonderful bottom cheeks with their tight little crack looked so delicious in her little white cotton knickers with pink polka dots on. I thought 'oh, what the fuck' and pulled them down her well shaped legs to her little ankles. Still she said nothing and continued retching. Her infant bottom was naked in front of me as I sank to my knees behind the little child whore and started to kiss and lick her there. My cock was out in a moment and, whilst masturbating, I used my free hand to finger Elodie's tiny baby cunt. Between retching to bring up the last of her tummyspunk, she said "you mustn't do that" and I told her it would help make her feel better. By this time, I didn't care any longer. I got up and pulled the child up from the toilet bowl and made her sit on it. As soon as she was sat down, I pointed my penis at her face and grabbed her hand which, holding it wrapped around my fuckmeat, I used to wank myself to orgasm. In seconds, I squirted my stinking spunk all over that lovely innocent girlchild's stunningly pretty face. While I cleaned her up with a flannel soaked in cold water, she cried softly and said something quite astonishing. She said "Daddy says I'm not allowed to tell anybody" "No, you're not," I replied, trying to sound brutally authoritative but, in fact, thoroughly puzzled, and then she said "My daddy told me I'd be punished by god if I ever tell anybody what he does and he'd send me away to a home for bad children. Are you going to play with me like daddy does?" "Yes, you gorgeous little baby girl, I am. Whenever I can, Elodie." Later that afternoon, I managed to get Elodie alone again for just a few seconds and asked the lovely child what daddy did to her. She whispered into my ear in that cute little baby girl voice that he put it up her in bed at night and made her do what I did today and "things like that". I was in seventh heaven. Not two, but three cute small children, two boys and a girl, available to do whatever I liked with. The best birthday party I ever had.

This is very old news to fans of Andrew Vachss (1)

TrebleJunkie (208060) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769795)

Vachss wrote about just this situation, way back in 2000 in his novel, Dead and Gone:

Lune tapped a few keys, pointed an immaculate fingernail at his computer screen. "You know what that is?" he asked me, as what looked like a string of auction bids popped into focus.

"A bunch of dope dealers talking in code?"

"No. It's the IRS."

"Huh? I don't get it."

"It's a pattern," he said, spinning on his chair to face me. "You know all this talk about America's 'underground cash economy'?"

"It's not just talk."

"Exactly! It's authenticated fact. And that's where the real money is. Not in cocaine cartels or topless clubs; it's in flea markets, garage sales, all the 'hobbyist' stuff that's being trafficked back and forth every second."

"Flea markets? How much could--?"

"You have to watch the patterns," he said, reciting his mantra.

He turned back to the screen, beckoning me to look over his shoulder. "Look! Here's one, right there on the screen. He's selling a signed copy of a first-edition book by--Martha Grimes. See it?"

"Sure. The highest bidder is--forty-five bucks so far, right?"

"Right. And what this guy--I mean the seller, okay?--what he did was, he bought maybe twenty copies of that book when it was remaindered. You know, you've seen the tables where they sell them in bookstores, haven't you?"

"Yeah," I said, knowing that everybody pays, and that the currency I needed to pay Lune's tolls was patience.

"First, you have to understand that all books get remaindered. It doesn't matter if they sell a million copies, there's always some left over. Well, the publisher isn't going to throw them away, so they sell them, in bulk, very cheaply. A book you spent twenty-five dollars on when it was new, a couple of years later, you'll see it for a dollar ninety-eight."

"Yeah--?"

"Now the guy has all these books, so he waits until this Martha Grimes is doing a book-signing someplace. Then he ambushes her, gets her to sign as many copies as he can get away with. Some writers will just do it, some will limit the number of copies. But this--merchant, his story is always what a huge fan he is and how he's going to give the books away to all his friends as Christmas gifts or for their birthdays or something. See?"

"I--guess so. But --"
"Look at the pattern, Burke. Come on. This guy buys a book for, say, less than two dollars. He gets it signed. Then he sells it for forty-five dollars on this Internet auction site. Do you think, for one single solitary second, that he declares that profit as income?"

"Of course not."

"Good. Now multiply by--oh, ten million transactions per year."

"Are you serious?"

Not a brilliant question to ask Lune. "Come closer," he said, pulling back from the screen so I could do it. "Take a look as I scroll through for you. See how every single seller and every single buyer has to provide information just to participate? Their e-mail, a credit card, a street address--a ton of authentic data. What you see here is the clearest, cleanest audit trail that any IRS agent could ever dream of."

"Damn!"

http://www.vachss.com/updates/040605.html [vachss.com]

Vachss is a rather undersung fortune teller.

Come to America, Land of the free! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20769889)

http://www.usimmigrationsupport.org/citizenship_application.html [usimmigrationsupport.org]

Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Maybe I missed something (1)

kannibul (534777) | more than 6 years ago | (#20769933)

but how is it when things are bought and sold by an individual it is [sometimes] taxable - for instance, a car or a house, but in other instances it is not - like buying a guitar from someone.

I'm currently selling a lot of my musical equipment. Should I have a LOT more than what I have, at what point is it considered income? I mean, I bought it with my income, paid tax on it at that point, and then I go to sell it later.

While I think taxes are a joke (we pay way more in than what we get in return as a society), I do what I'm supposed to do. Just I don't understand the double-taxing of certain goods, and/or why the feds can get involved when a person sells to another.

If it's a storefront, even then, the inter-state e-commerce sales tax doesn't exist. If I go to Texas (I live in Oklahoma) and buy something, I'm expected to pay the tax on it. At the same point, if I buy it online, and have it shipped from Texas, I don't. Anyhow...taxes are confusing - and I think they intend it that way.

Re:Maybe I missed something (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20770507)

The way it works in the UK (I imagine it's much the same in the US and CN) is that you're actually taxed only on your profit. So if the car company buys a car for $10k and sells it for $20k it's making a (gross) profit of $10k and it owes the sales tax on that portion of the price. (It actually collects the tax on the whole amount but the rest is offset against the sales tax they themselves paid when they bought it). If you're selling your guitar for a profit then technically you should be collecting sales tax on behalf of the government, if not then you don't. I think the IRS is only going to be going after the big operations who are making $200k+ a year selling laptops and dvds on ebay and not declaring it, not the people selling their second hand stuff for a few pennies.

Re:Maybe I missed something (1)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 6 years ago | (#20770593)

but how is it when things are bought and sold by an individual it is [sometimes] taxable - for instance, a car or a house, but in other instances it is not - like buying a guitar from someone. I'm currently selling a lot of my musical equipment. Should I have a LOT more than what I have, at what point is it considered income?

It's always considered income. However, it's usually not worth the government's time to discover if you sold a guitar, prove it, and come at you for $5 or whatever you own (don't know how much a guitar costs). So, by "at what point" you are asking the wrong question. The more you sell, the more likely you will get caught (esp. if you do it in a way that a third-party tracks the transactions), and that the government will care. Although, there is also the point ($10,000 in the US), where bank deposits get reported to the IRS (it should also be noted that repeatedly depositing $9,999.99, not only will flag some heuristic that you are attempting to circumvent the $10,000 limit, which is an additional crime beyond tax evasion if you are doing it to evade taxes.) So that may be the point you were asking about.

Because the govenrment tracks homes and automobiles ownership already, and because the numbers are usually large enough to justify it, they come at you for these transactions.

I mean, I bought it with my income, paid tax on it at that point, and then I go to sell it later.

The only income is the difference in price (as adjusted by any deductions for deprication you took.) You saved the recipt, right?

If I go to Texas (I live in Oklahoma) and buy something, I'm expected to pay the tax on it. At the same point, if I buy it online, and have it shipped from Texas, I don't.

If you buy it in Texas, it falls into Texas juristiction and Texas can charge you sales tax. If you are in Oklahoma and buy it online in Texas, than neither Texas or Oklahoma has juristiction, because the federal government takes over interstate relationships. There is no federal sales tax. If there was, you would probably have to pay it.


IANAL, but I do some accounting related-work. Therefore, some of my answers may be tweaked for business and not personal taxes.

Once upon a time on Usenet (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20770123)

I still remember one time on usenet, some jackass out in Alberta (I think) was spamming the forsale newsgroups incessantly trying to scalp a bunch of Playstations back when they were selling at a premium. The spamming and scalping generated a predictable response from the regulars of the groups, with some people even calling this character a bullshit artist who was never going to be able to sell for the prices he wanted. His ego attacked, this jackass started defending the fact he was making tons of money scalping playstations, and when pressed further, he proved his point by scanning and posting copies of the money orders he had received. These included his full name and address.

I promptly bundled up all the evidence he so kindly provided and sent it off to Canada Revenue Agency along with a nice explanatory note suggesting they audit his ass.

I still chuckle when I think about it :)

New escrow service (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20770301)

Simply send me the goods and the money and I will guarantee that the Canadian taxman will see none of it
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