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For six years, the Internet Nexus served as my technology blog, but I've since started blogging at the SuperSite Blog instead. If you're looking for the blog, please head there. --Paul

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Selling stuff online? Here comes the IRS

Americans who sell items through Internet auction sites could be in for an unpleasant surprise at tax time next year, thanks to an IRS proposal designed to identify taxpayers who don't report income from those sales.

The U.S. Treasury Department wants Congress to force auction sites like eBay, and to turn over the identities and Social Security numbers of a large portion of their users to the IRS--so tax collectors know how much each person made through online selling.

The effort is part of a larger plan, which enjoys enthusiastic support from both Democrats and Republicans, to close what's known as the "tax gap." It's a broad term that covers Americans who don't file tax returns or those who underreport their income, and the IRS believes it to total around $345 billion for the 2001 tax year.
So I saw this headline and had this brief stab of fear, given how much I sell through this site. But then it occurred to me that, of course, I don't actually make any money through the site at all. And I think most people who have purchased DVDs or other items from me would agree that the pricing is designed to move the stuff out, not turn a profit. Overall, I'd have to say that the effort of posting, packing, and shipping everything has vastly outweighed any money that's come in. And when you add the cost of just hosting the site, it all adds up to a big charity without any of the tax benefits, really.

Which is all OK with me. I like getting this stuff out to people that want it. And really, that's what the book giveaways and DVD/tech toys sales are all about. I've got a lot more of everything to plod through, but it does take a while. In the end, everyone benefits. Except, I guess, the IRS, which is also OK with me. I give quite a chunk of change to the US government every year, thanks to being self-employed. I don't think they deserve any more.


[ Posted at 8:45 AM | Permalink ]


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