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Friday, November 14, 2008

Canadian Taxman Goes After eBay Power Sellers

About two years ago the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) launched a probe into eBay Canada "Powersellers" to ensure that they were claiming all of the income that they earned. A PowerSeller receives various benefits from eBay Canada, there are varying levels and it takes about $3000 in annual sales to qualify. The probe focused on sales in 2004 and 2005 and involved about 10,000 people. The CRA now says that it is expanding it's investigation to include 2006 and 2007.

The CRA has been hampered by eBay's unwillingness to provide information, saying that the data is stored on eBay's servers in the US where CRA has no jurisdiction however last week the Federal Court of Appeal dismissed eBay's arguments.

"We're just alarmed by this," Andrew Sloss, eBay Canada's manager said in an interview yesterday. "I think everyone who values their privacy should find this alarming. This is a slippery slope. I mean, who will be the next people who will be the product of a government fishing expedition and have their privacy rights compromised?"