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eBay sellers to be taxed in the UK for online trading



A worried woman holding a purchase receipt.
HMRC’s clamp down on second-hand shoppers will be possible due to an increased amount of data collected from selling platforms | Photo: Karolina Grabowska

Since 1 January, 2024 HM Revenue & Customs is requiring digital platforms to collect information on how much their users make – and those making a profit selling items on sites such as eBay, Vinted and Airbnb are now be on the radar of the taxman in the UK.

Although, until now, thousands of people making a small income from online trading never declared their earning from these popular websites, new rules brought into force this month means that digital market places in any countries that have signed up to rules set out by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), have started collecting information on UK-resident sellers and will share that with HMRC.

“HMRC has got new powers to find petty tax cheats on eBay as from today – whilst ignoring the massive problem that its failure to properly tax fraudulent limited companies has created. The effective regulation of companies in this country is long overdue. Companies should bear the cost of doing this because all honest ones would gain. And the tax gain could be at least £12 billion a year. So why will no politician talk about this?,” questioned Richard Murphy, Professor of Accounting Practice at Sheffield University, in a tweet posted today.

For Folk and protest singers Chris and Kath Jordan, the latest HMRC move targeting those ones selling used items on Vintage and other second hand websites doesn’t make sense given the current green agenda being widely discussed over the past years.

“The move against folk who sell on such sites as eBay is also a move against encouraging folk to recycle old goods. It goes directly against any government recycling targets and will only serve to encourage people to keep on buying new and then throwing old stuff away,” says the Hull-based couple.

People are raising questions also on how the costs of second-hand items sold online will be calculated for tax purposes.

“HMRC taxing people on the money they make selling things on Vinted as they see it as a form of self-employment. In that case shouldn’t they be taking into account what price those items were originally bought for as realistically most people will make a slight loss not a profit?,” questions executive producer Emma Lieghio, co-founder at Neck of the woods films.

What information will be shared?

For individuals, the data collected will be their name, address, date of birth and national insurance number, plus what they have earned and paid in fees on the platform. If a property is being let, they will need its address.

Everyone has a trading allowance each tax year, which means they can earn up to £1,000 – about £83 a month – without paying tax.

Paying tax will start kicking in when a seller earns a profit of more than £6,000 from selling goods. However, goods in this instance must fall under the remit of ‘personal possessions’ – so things you already own and are selling for less than you paid (therefore technically making a loss on), or items you did not purchase with the intent of selling in order to make a profit. If you have not sold a personal possession or groups of personal possessions totalling £6,000 or more, HMRC’s website says you do not need to declare it.

It is not only those ones selling items on eBay or other second hand market places who are of the UK government’s radar. The HRMC official website lists other categories who also must declare additional earnings, including money earned from activities such as selling items at car boot sales and doing casual jobs such as gardening, food delivery or babysitting. Online content creators and those charging other people for using equipment or tools are also listed as taxpayers who need to tell HMRC about additional income.

Marcio Delgado is a Journalist, Producer and Influencer Marketing Manager working with brands and publications in Europe, America and Asia.


Thousands left without money after Small World LCC ceases trading



Migrants looking at a closed branch of Money Transfer Small World
Customers look at a notice of suspension of services at a Small World LCC branch in London

“Every month I send €800 to help my son with his university costs and general maintenance. It has been over a week, and the money hasn’t arrived yet,” says Nara Baracho, a Brazilian migrant who works at an industrial laundry in Switzerland.

Nara is one of thousands of customers across Europe who, this week, were taken by surprise by the suspension of services of Small World (LCC), a money transfer company operating since 2005 with offices and presence in Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, and the US.

“I have used them for over 13 years and it is regrettable that they left so many people without their money. Earlier in the week I tried to contact Small World by email and received a message saying that my message had been blocked,” explains Baracho providing a screenshot of the message received as proof.

A popular money transfer service among migrants, until recently Small World LCC offered money transfer services to over 180 worldwide destinations. In 2018, the company generated revenues in excess of £110m.

On Thursday, June 14th, however, a “Suspension of Services” disclaimer was posted on the Small World website, informing customers of recent changes and that the company had stopped accepting any new customers or agents, as well as sending money abroad.

“We want to tell you about some important changes at Small World.

From now, Small World has stopped accepting any new customers or agents, accepting funds or making payments for existing customers through all channels, including any of its agents, branches, web sites or mobile applications.

If you ask us to make a payment, we may not be able to make that payment. Where we have already sent the funds to a bank or other third party that we use to deliver the funds to the person you are trying to pay, it is possible that the bank or third party has paid the funds to your recipient or will do so in the usual timeframes.”

Customers going to physical branches in England, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland also encountered similar messages affixed to Small World LCC closed doors. The announcement was not 100% true: throughout June 14th, Small World LCC still had the send money button fully active, hours after the company started to inform customers of service suspension, even if most of the site was already with limited access.

For Marbel Luz Carrillo, a Colombian who lives in Barcelona, Spain, that timeframe has long passed. The worker used Small World LCC on Saturday, June 8th to send funds to help relatives to make home repairs – a week later, Marbel is still awaiting any response regarding whether her family will receive the money sent.

“I have been here in Spain for 24 years, and on many other occasions I have sent money through this company (Small World LCC) without any issues. I am surprised that this is happening because, in my opinion, they were one of the best companies for sending money abroad,” says Luz Carrillo, expressing disappointment. She is currently without work and has used funds from her severance pay to help her family back home.

“I will continue to insist that Small World LCC return the money sent to me or make the payment in my country (Colombia). If not, I will file a complaint for scam with the competent authorities here in Barcelona,” says Mabel.

Another victim of Small World LCC this week is auto paint technician Adilson Mamede. Last week, he used a branch located in London to send £210 to Brazil to help with the purchase of tickets for family members to visit him. On Wednesday, after many days without the transaction being completed, Adilson visited the same location and was informed that the delay was due to technical issues with Small World LCC’s database and that the money would be available shortly at the intended destination. After 48 hours passed without any updates from the money transfer company, he returned to the branch, but this time, it was closed with several posters announcing the end of activities. He never got his money back.

Jennifer Cortegana, a student who lives in Peru, has been waiting for funds sent by her father, a transportation worker based in Spain, since June 7th.

“The money is intended to pay for my university and health bills. He used Small World LCC before and had no problems. Now they don’t respond to any form of contact. Their offices are closed and they do not respond to calls or emails,” worries Jennifer.

A Brazilian model who preferred to stay anonymous used Small World LCC for the first time last week in Italy, where she lives. The money sent to help her family in Brazil has never arrived, either. “I made the deposit via Small World on June 8th and was informed that it would be in the beneficiary’s account the next business day. The store is now closed, and the money has not been sent to my family,” says the freelancer professional, who managed to contact Small World LCC customer service but was informed that “there were some technical errors in the system, and there would be no date for returning to normal activities.”

Customers affected by Small World LCC payment delays are now getting together to try to recover their cash. Groups have been created on social media platforms such as Facebook and Telegram. The goal is to sue the company collectively for breach of contract.

Euronewsweek has reached out to Small World LLC using its telephone number available for customer service, as well as individual branches in the United Kingdom, Spain, Switzerland, and Italy. Calls are being forwarded to voicemail, but no feedback or return calls are being carried out. Calls to the Small World LCC headquarters in Blackfriars, London, are being answered with a recorded message informing customers that the company is no longer accepting new registrations or making money transfers, and giving callers an email that is being answered with an automated message informing people how to track the status of their transactions.

The suspected collapse of Small World comes a few months after the company was fined £139,500 by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the United Kingdom for breaching competition rules alongside two other transfer firms. In that case, the British regulator found Small World, Hafiz Bros and LCC Trans-Sending coordinated on certain exchange rates offered to customers in Glasgow for converting pounds to Pakistan Rupees when transferring money. 

Euronewsweek also reached out to Equistone Partners, one of Europe’s leading mid-market private equity firms, which invested in Small World Financial Services back in 2018 – but we had no reply from its UK office.

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Biggest hotel complex in Finland open its doors



Biggest hotel complex in Finland open its doors
With a total of 37 500 square meters the hotels will offer 716 guest rooms in Helsinki

After almost three years of construction, Clarion Hotel Helsinki Airport and Comfort Hotel Helsinki Airport could finally open the doors to the biggest hotel complex in Finland.

With a total of 37 500 square meters, 716 guest rooms, 21 meeting rooms and a huge 826 m2 banquet hall, it is the largest hotel operation in Finland which has now opened right at the terminal of Helsinki Airport.

Combining two different brands and concepts under the same roof, Clarion Hotel Helsinki Airport and Comfort Hotel Helsinki Airport will cater for all kinds of travelers, travels, conferences and events.

“I am so happy to welcome our first guests to this big and beautiful hotel. The Clarion Hotel brand is already recognized as a meeting and event specialist in the Finnish market and with this hotel, we further emphasise this. Clarion Hotel Helsinki Airport will put the Finnish capital higher on the European list of conference destinations and make Vantaa a more attractive area for the Finnish market,” says Tarja Jeskanen, General Manager at Clarion Hotel Helsinki Airport.

The hotel has a rooftop terrace and the Finnish premiere of the restaurant concept NÒR, a modern brasserie with Nordic culinary traditions influenced by the best tastes from Europe. Here you can also enjoy a cocktail overlooking the runway.

In addition, there is a well-equipped gym, and a wellness area with an outdoor plunge pool, steam bath and of course a Finnish sauna.

“This is a huge step for Strawberry in Finland. By adding this jumbo hotel to our portfolio, we clearly state that we are serious about our ambitions to grow massively in the Finnish market. Our recently published projects in Turku and Hyvinkää show our plans stretch beyond Helsinki, but to achieve them, we need a strong foundation like the one we have in place with both our city hotels and the cluster with these two new hotels together with Clarion Hotel Aviapolis and the rebranded Comfort Hotel Xpress Helsinki Airport Terminal,” says COO of the Finnish operation in Strawberry, Erika Ehrnrooth.

Comfort Hotel and Comfort Hotel Xpress are new brands in the Finnish market. Both of them are centered on giving the guests what they need and offer what they want on individual demand. Whilst Comfort Hotel Helsinki Airport will offer their guests the same upscale breakfast as their sister hotel in the same building, the rebranded Comfort Hotel Xpress Helsinki Airport Terminal has breakfast options available, but not included.

Comfort Hotel Helsinki Airport and Clarion Hotel Helsinki Airport share the same roof and will cooperate tightly. In total, the hotels can welcome more than 1500 guests, and together with the Comfort Hotel Xpress Helsinki Airport Terminal and Clarion Hotel Aviapolis, the total capacity will make Vantaa Finland’s best conference and event area.

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UK-first sees digitally signalled train driven on intercity mainline



UK-first sees digitally signalled train driven on intercity mainline
The testing process will continue until mid-2025 to ensure complete assurance of the new system’s safety and reliability

In a UK-first, a rail industry partnership has successfully run a digitally signalled train on an intercity mainline route.

In the early hours of Sunday morning, 2 June, a Great Northern Class 717 ran in test conditions between Welwyn Garden City and Hitchin in Hertfordshire using European Train Control System (ETCS), which sends signalling information direct to a computer screen in the driver’s cab. ETCS will enable a more reliable, more efficient and greener railway for passengers and freight customers.

Sunday’s test was part of the early stages of an ongoing process to prove that the trains – already fitted with the necessary on-board technology – work with the new digital signalling infrastructure on this section of the East Coast Main Line (ECML). Testing is taking place overnight and at weekends to minimise disruption to passengers as much as possible.

The testing process will continue until mid-2025 to ensure complete assurance of the new system’s safety and reliability, with the first passenger and freight digital signalling operations expected to start soon afterwards.

The process will involve the breadth of the industry-wide partnership delivering the pioneering East Coast Digital Programme (ECDP). Train Control Partner Siemens Mobility is overseeing the testing process, working with the relevant train operating partners (initially Govia Thameslink Railway as the first train to be dynamically tested).

Oliver Turner, Head of ERTMS at Govia Thameslink Railway which operates Great Northern, said:

“We’re proud our Class 717 train and ERTMS team were instrumental to this landmark use of digital signalling on the East Coast Main Line.

“This weekend’s testing marks the very first step in an intensive testing process to ensure the system is safe. We are working closely with the rest of the industry to share the lessons we’ve learned – and continue to learn – from introducing and operating ETCS on the Northern City Line and Thameslink route across the heart of London.”

Ben Lane, Project Director for Siemens Mobility & Infrastructure Sector Lead ECDP, said:

“Following on from the success of the pathfinder project on the Northern City line, we are now deploying this technology on an intercity mainline in preparation for the commencement of driver training for all passenger and freight operating companies on the Programme.

“The first digitally signalled train movement on the Welwyn to Hitchin project is not only a big step for the ECDP, but also for the wider railway industry and future digital schemes.”

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