This topic came up today in a discussion with a client about how things from years ago that had been completely forgotten, can come and bite you on the bum!
Do you realize that everything you post about on the internet in all it’s forms; on forums like UK Business Labs (my favourite), Ecademy etc., everything you twitter about, everything you offer, everything you boast about…can and will be used against you by our beloved government if you give them half a chance.
It isn’t just terrorists they are looking for, can you guess??
Yup. Undeclared income.
They have for a long time trawled through the classified ads in local newspapers; post office window cards; signs at the roadside etc., looking for naughty people. For instance, I had a tax investigation start many years ago because the particular tax inspector used to drive to work each day passing my client’s house and couldn’t help but notice every few days there was a different car for sale parked on the grass verge outside the house.
Another time, long ago, in the early days of the internet, a client had a website designed for him which stated (presumably to help with credibility) they had been in business 10 years longer than they actually had. It was a huge battle to get the Tax Office to back down from wanting to demand these missing 10 years of profits from the business records.
So please be aware that like elephants, the internet never forgets, and those affiliate commissions you thought were only just large enough to be called pocket money could produce a huge tax bill in a few years time. All these resources, networking tools, blogs, articles, forum posts etc., that you use without much thought every day, can and are brought up during a tax investigation. It isn’t just potential customers that can google you!
Of course, all my blog readers are ethical and honest business people and so declare every penny of their online commissions, ebay sales, cash sales, bartered exchanges of goods/services (yes these are taxable and VAT’able too) – I hope!!
You have been warned – please make sure your financial house is in order before you spread your business message far and wide across the globe.