Selling lots of stuff online? The tax office may be watching you


The Dutch tax office is indirectly monitoring sales via second-hand websites such as Vinted and Martkplaats and people earning more than €2000 a year or selling more than 30 products could find themselves facing a bill, broadcaster NOS said on Saturday.

New EU rules require second hand goods sites to pass on details to sales to the relevant tax office on an annual basis, and the 2023 figures were forward to the Dutch authorities on Wednesday, NOS said. 

People who sell a few children’s clothes for a couple of euros as a hobby need not fear a blue envelope. The tax office told NOS that they “don’t ask for hobbies on your tax return and are not going to that, despite the introduction of the rules.”

However, people who do it on a large scale to make a profit are trading, not practicing a hobby, the tax office said, adding that “the Dutch rules have not changed.” 

The tax office compares the information it receives from the websites and compares it to people’s own tax returns “via automated controls,” NOS said. “If we consider a tax return is not accurate, then we can look into this,” the spokesman told the broadcaster.

Dutch consumers association Consumentenbond said breaking the 30 item limit or earning more than €2,000 did not mean people would face a tax bill. “These limits only apply to the website reporting requirement,” the agency said.

Vinted and Marktplaats told NOS that most sellers had nothing to fear and pointed out that people are always required to pass on information about extra income to the tax office. Marktplaats did, however, say the limit of 30 items or €2000 was low “if you regularly want to give things a second life”. 

Websites are also required by law to inform sellers if their information has been handed over to the tax office.

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