Anyone who likes to clear out their attic or wants to sell something online for friends on eBay and other platforms has had to be careful since the beginning of 2023: new regulations have come into force, according to which online platforms such as eBay have to report data on private sales to the tax authorities. This can result in additional tax payments. How can you protect yourself from the tax trap?
On January 1st, 2023, the “Platform Tax Transparency Act” (PStTG) came into force, according to which operators such as eBay and Amazon are obliged to forward user data to the Federal Central Tax Office under certain conditions.
Tax regulation for private sales on eBay & Co.
The new law covers any activity in which one receives remuneration. Next to Selling on eBayVinted, Hood, Etsy and Shpock, for example, is also about accommodation that you at Airbnb offers. The providers are obliged to pass on data from users who offer private service or sales transactions online. Information about private sales is therefore forwarded to the tax office. However, this does not apply to all sellers, but only if certain limits are exceeded.
The data that goes to the tax office includes, among other things, the name, address, bank details and tax ID as well as information on the income and fees on the relevant platform. The law affects sellers who do not work professionally on eBay and Co. Data must therefore be passed on by a platform as soon as one more than 30 sales per year does or more than 2,000 euros in proceeds through sales. If both values are not reached, nothing happens.
eBay & Co.: Data goes to the tax office
For the first time, the data mentioned will go to the tax offices in Germany on January 31, 2024. It includes sales made between January 1st and December 31st, 2023 on the various online platforms.
The new law is intended to prevent profits on eBay and Co. from bypassing the tax office. With the data received, tax offices can take a closer look at tax returns and check whether there is “other income”, additional income or commercial income that must be declared in the income tax return. To be on the safe side, you should document all sales activities from January 1, 2023 to prove to the tax office why the sales took place.
Notice: The new law does not introduce any new tax rules. Private sales of everyday objects therefore remain tax-free within a certain framework. With the new regulation, the tax office only has another way to get accurate data on income. So if you occasionally sell a CD or a T-shirt for 2 euros, you don’t need to worry. In this way, however, tax authorities can more quickly identify dealers who pretend to be private sellers and make sales in large quantities or regularly offer luxury goods.
Loud Section 23 (3) sentence 5 EstG these financial gains are not taxable under an amount of 600 euros. Proper bookkeeping is required for proof. It is therefore recommended to collect your private sales in a list from this year onwards in order to prove that no or only small profits were made in the event of inquiries.
There is no concrete limit as to when one no longer trades privately but commercially on eBay and Co. Instead, decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. Single and irregular sales are mostly tax-free. But as soon as you continuously offer items for sale on eBay & Co. or buy things cheaply in order to sell them at a higher price, you slide into the commercial sector, where you not only become taxable, but also have other obligations, for example by offering a right of withdrawal must. Further information on the distinction between commercial and private providers you read on eBay or at Stiftung Warentest.