According to the Guardian, in March 2016, eBay were to be held liable, in some cases, for VAT fraud committed by overseas sellers using their websites – and costing Britain hundreds of millions of pounds a year in lost tax receipts.
The chancellor of the UK was giving tax inspectors new powers to warn high-risk overseas sellers active in the UK through eBay and other online market places. If, after those warnings, sellers do not correctly collect VAT within 30 days, eBay and Amazon coulc be held liable for the missing tax.
The Treasury estimated that this measure woulc recoup £875m in lost VAT receipts over the next four years – though it is not expected to halt tax fraud altogether. The total cost to the taxpayer of this abuse was officially estimated at £1bn to £1.5bn a year.