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EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 113 - February 22, 2004 - ISSN 1528-6703     9 of 9

Letters from Readers

Dear Ina:
Since I consider you to be the most up-to-date newsletter on web auctions, I have a major question for you that many resellers will need to know, even though most of them have likely not thought of it before. Hopefully franchise issuers have.

As you know, there are hundreds of CTA's and newly formed reselling establishments through out the USA. It was brought to my attention that we are required by the IRS to issue 1099 forms at the end of the year to anyone or any organization that receives money from us when we resell their merchandise, otherwise, we are not allowed to deduct that money from our own gross revenue. Can you please research this for me/us and let us know via your newsletter how to handle this? 1099 forms require knowing a person or entity's Social Security number to be validly issued. My assumption is that most non-profits will be happy to give you their 501 3C nonprofit I.D. number for this purpose. But most people, including me, won't be comfortable with this for personal party transactions. I also, as a stay-at-home mom, don't know where to begin to accomplish issuing these things or where to get the paperwork to fill out. Is this something everybody has conveniently not been dealing with or is it just plain ignorance on the part of the resellers? There have to be regulations on this and from my initial peek, I am getting nervous about my legal ramifications if I do not comply with IRS rules. HELP!
Many, many thanks!

The IRS Web site has information about Form 1099 and Form 1096 (http://www.irs.gov). You can download instructions and forms. (But form 1099-misc. is a carbon-copy form, one of the few forms you can't just download from the site.)

I suggest you get a book like the Ernst & Young Tax Guide (for the current year, every year Congress changes tax law) and get an accountant if you have a business. These 2 articles will help give you some background:

"Do I Have to Report My Auction Earnings?" Part 1

Part 2:

The second part of your question: you need to have a contract if you are a trading assistant (for your protection and the consignor's protection), and you can have a field for tax ID number on the contract.

I would think some eBay sellers are knowledgeable about taxes or get an accountant if they aren't, and some people ignore the entire tax regulations, either believing it doesn't apply to them, resenting it, or in denial. But if you were to get audited (even randomly), and you are depositing checks into your account and not reporting them as income, the IRS is going to question you about it.

If you aren't up on all the tax stuff, there are probably things you aren't aware of that you can declare as business expenses - it may pay for itself to go to an accountant, at least once, to help you figure out which forms to file and ask questions about legitimate tax deductions. I hired an accountant one year, and all she did was fill out the forms with the information I gave her. She charged a lot of money. I was looking for money-saving advice, I could have filled out the forms myself! So make sure you interview an accountant and let them know your expectations before you use them.

I can't give tax advice, but I hope this has been helpful in directing you to useful resources.


Hi Ina,
Hope all is well up there in the "frozen north". Our friends were here in Fl for a visit from Martha's Vineyard last week and they are looking at property here, thinking they don't want to spend one more winter in that cold, cold land! ; ) Hope all is well with you both.

Regarding ebay trying to become the one-stop shipping service too..... You might want to make note in your newsletter that Delivery confirmation is currently FREE to ANYONE who makes their priority labels on line (and has been for the past two years or so)....so no need to go through ebay to take advantage of the free 54 cent DC.

Also, regarding the UPS labels....if you have a UPS account currently and are receiving daily pickup and an incentive bonus for shipping large amounts of packages, (know many ebay powersellers fall into this category), you would surely lose those choices and discounts.

My question is, what happens when ebay is "down", loses information, (like the blocked bidder information fiasco) or has other glitches. This will mean your shipping information is in jeopardy or inaccessible or perhaps you will have to forego your shipping for that day. Ebay is trying to become everything to everyone and perhaps sellers should think carefully about the implications of depending on ebay for shipping. Shipping fees will be charged to your paypal account and this will be just another way that ebay can line their already bulging pockets!

For myself..... I will continue to take charge of my own labels, thank you.....both UPS and USPS, and in this way, I will know that my information and labels are always accessible and available..... and I will take responsibility for checking the shipping charges on my weekly UPS account and all labels to be sure they are correct. Thanks ebay, but I will pass on this "generous" offer of yours.
Best regards,

I checked one thing with UPS, which said, "An eBay seller has the ability to use their account number for discounts. The buyer does not. (Seller can't bill to buyer - no freight collect billing option here.)"


I rummaged through the bid4assets page hoping to find an alternative venue to ebay, but not yet. What I did notice on their private (as opposed to U.S. Marshalls Service sales) auctions was a predominance of "buyer's premiums," running 10% as a rule. To me, "bp's" are insulting - having a bidder pay additional money for the "privilege" for buying from them?! I'm going to have to want something pretty darned bad before I bid on any auction having a "buyer's premium".

"Buyer's premium" might be a good topic sometime for your newsletter.
James H.

Most offline auctions charge a buyer's premium, so it isn't a new concept. Here's what Bid4Assets had to say:

"In regards to the buyer's premium email, Bid4Assets does not require seller's to use a buyer's premium, as you know we are strictly the venue to bring buyers and sellers together. It is entirely up to the seller if they want to use this feature. If this reader is insulted by the BP option, he/she should definitely contact the seller and let them know. We in no way recommend nor discourage its use.

"When you think about it, this reaction could be transferred over the many features/options in the online auction industry. For example, some bidders may refuse to use paypal as a payment option, but the seller may only accept that form of payment. Maybe the buyer has had a bad experience or frankly just doesn't understand how it works and would rather write a check or send a money order. Not all features are going to be liked by everyone, however it's up to the buyer and seller as to what features they are willing to accommodate."

Personally, I think as long as the bidders know what they are getting into, it's nice to give sellers options on how they want to conduct the sale. (Choice is good.) I also think it says something about the kinds of buyers that Bid4Assets is bringing to their site. It may be worth looking at this auction site for high-value items (land, jewelry, consumer electronics) where buyers routinely drop big bucks. It's not an eBay substitute, but it may be a place to test out high-ticket items you are selling.

In fact, Bid4Assets told me they have a higher sell-through rate and are looking for sellers because they have plenty of buyers actively shopping their site. If anyone has experience with this site, let me know.


Just wanted to tell you how much have enjoyed your AuctionBytes News Flashes. There are not a lot of emails that I look for but yours is one of them. Thank you.

Do you know where eBay describes in detail about the use of their Logo for Power sellers or Traders?

This page speaks in general terms about the Powerseller logo: http://pages.ebay.com/services/buyandsell/powerseller/benefits.html

And a little more specifically:

"Can I use the PowerSeller logo in my listing description? Yes, registered PowerSellers can use the PowerSellers logo in their eBay listings or About Me or Store pages or your primary website outside of eBay. However, if you would like to use the PowerSeller logo in your listings or the other places mentioned above, you must agree to have the your PowerSeller icon displayed next to your feedback score. This will enable other members to identify legitimate PowerSellers easier. Any use of the PowerSeller logo must also link to the PowerSeller program page. For any questions about your permission to use the Power Sellers logo, please log in to the PowerSeller Portal and click on the Logo & Icon guidelines on the left navigation bar."

And here's policy for using eBay's Trading Assistant logo: http://pages.ebay.com/tatoolkit/mt/talogo.html


Regarding the statement, "eBay continues to integrate Half.com into the eBay site in preparation for closing Half Dot by July 2004. In March, eBay will remove all lower-level categories for Music and Movies categories."

Ebay got greedy. With Half.com you listed an item until it sold and no fee until it did and then you paid a higher fee. Ebay wants folks to pay a fee up front and only list for 7-10 days.

I sell on Half and Amazon and Amzon charges more but has a bigger audience. When someone goes to Amazon for a new book and sees I have a used copy for sale cheaper, they buy it. Also Half only remits ever 15 days. Amazon pays me the same day!

I think Ebay making a BIG mistake!

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