If You Sell Anything on eBay, the IRS Tax Man May Cometh
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Have you ever sold anything on eBay? Be it a grilled cheese sandwich with the image of the Virgin Mary, your ex-girlfriend’s wedding dress with you in it, or your unwashed underwear, the IRS may want its cut. Nothing is beneath the IRS. And that is why the eBay community is all a’tizzy – because the IRS may just want eBay sellers to pay taxes on the money which they make selling items on eBay.

Now, the good news is that the IRS really only wants to tax people who use eBay selling as a form of business. The bad news is that what qualifies one as “running a business” through eBay, for IRS tax purposes, isn’t entirely clear. But here are some general rules of thumb…


If you sell things on eBay on a regular basis, with an intention to turn a profit, and especially if you purchase things wholesale to do such selling, you may be considered a “business”. If you scour the countryside at garage sales and yard sales looking for things which you can turn around and sell on eBay, you might be considered a business. In short, if you sell things on a regular basis on eBay which you have aquired with the primary intention of, well, selling them on eBay, you may be considered a business. In any of these cases, you are best advised to consult a tax professional.

If, on the other hand, you really only sell things on eBay in the same manner you would hold a garage sale – to get rid of things which you no longer have a use for, you’re probably safe from that visit from the tax man.

Oh, and in case you missed out on that grilled cheese sandwich with the image of the Virgin Mary, you can still bid on the pan which made it here.

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No Paywall Here!
The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?
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10 thoughts on “If You Sell Anything on eBay, the IRS Tax Man May Cometh
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  1. If you’re selling stuff for less than you paid for it (e.g. selling off stuff you bought new because it’s in the way now) you’re selling at a loss, so there’s nothing to pay taxes on. If you buy stuff in order to sell it for a profit (on eBay or otherwise), that’s a taxable business.

  2. I have researched this HR 3221 Bill and I believe they are really going to hit us hard. Power Sellers are gonna probably get audited and taxed accordingly. I’m pretty scared myself.

  3. what there alot of people just need to get rid of stuff they dont need maybe some1 else can use them i think they get enough taxes from us working people we have to paid taxs befor we get out check then when buy something there more taxes taken out if they went to tax something be toilet paper every1 use it lol…NO TAXES ON EBAY…WERE RECYCLING FOR OTHER PEOPLE TO USE WERE NOT JUST THROWING IT AWAY LESS GABAGE

  4. Please let this go through. My ex-wife sells constantly on ebay and I would like nothing more than for hewr to have to claim it. I would have to pay her less. (believe me she does not deserve a break).

  5. Please don’t stress and worry yourself sick over your ebay sales. I do taxes and from what you are saying, you are not using ebay as a business and there have been no definite rulings on the income from ebay sales at this point. I, too, have sold on ebay like selling items at a garage sale. When and if the IRS taxes ebay sales by people like us we will all know about the official rules. In the meantime, summer is approaching and is a good time for a yard sale. When you empty your home of unnecessary clutter it is amazing how the other parts of life become less cluttered too. God Bless you.

  6. I am so confused and sick in the stomach about selling on ebay and the IRS. I have soo many things around my home that i have been saving and collecting for many years now. My daughter is 22 and i have saved so much of her stuff from her childhood also. Not to mention i have always over the years loved shopping at yard sales and thrift stores which in return has caused my home to be very cluttered and closets running over.I have made myself stop buying from these places because i end up buying things i do not need. Many of the things i will use for a time and then they end up in the basement or garage etc. I also became addicted to ebay a few years back, and for about 3 years got caught up in buying way too many things. Mostly dolls, teddy bears, old toys etc. I have them all over the house. I have pretty much stopped buying on ebay also because i way over did it. I know have been having to get rid of stuff because i have way to much. Some of it i have donated to Thrift Stores and some i have been selling on ebay. I usually list some things if i see ebay is running an insert fee special because much of the stuff i list does not even sell and this way if an item does not sell it is not a big loss as far as the insert fee. I do not count on this as an income and never considered it a business. I just need to down size and resell much of the stuff i bought on ebay and much of the stuff i bought and have accumilated over the years. Some things i take a loss on and i have to admit that some things i have gained on. I need help with this because the thought of having to go back over the past few years and amend our taxes because i may have made a profit on selling something on ebay or in my local free ads pennysaver makes me feel ill with stress. Please if someone reads this and can help me and give me clear answers would be so appreciated because i am afraid it is going to cause me to get sick with worry and enable me from functioning properly.I take medication for problems of excessive worrying, depression and anxiety and this is the kind of situation that can trigger me to get sick again and it scares me real bad. Thanks So Much for any help.

  7. I cannot outrun the IRS. If they commeth, I will stand and fight. So let it be written, so let it be done.

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