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Frequently asked questions: 2008 CRA Information Request

General Questions

Has any information already been released to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)? The requested information was released to the Canada Revenue Agency during the week of November 17, 2008.

What information is the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) asking for?
The CRA has asked for the following information and documents for any person registered as having a Canadian address (including individual, corporation and joint venture) who qualified for the PowerSeller status under eBay's PowerSeller program in Canada at any time during the two calendar years 2004 and 2005:
  • account information - full name, user id, mailing address, billing address, telephone number, fax number and email address; and
  • merchandise sales information - gross annual sales
Whom can I contact for more information?
We have set up a special email address for all inquiries related to this matter. Please send us your questions via email to CRA_info@ebay.ca.

What gives eBay the right to release its members' account information to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)?
In November, 2006 the Federal Court of Canada authorized the CRA to impose a requirement on eBay Canada that we release the above-identified information for people who were PowerSellers in 2004 and 2005. We fought against that decision; however, in February 2008, the Federal Court of Canada affirmed its November 2006 ruling in favour of the CRA. Since then, eBay has been continuing to vigorously fight against the disclosure of that information through the legal appeals process. On November 7, 2008, eBay lost the appeal and is now required to release the requested user information to the Canada Revenue Agency.

What is the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) going to do with this information?
We do not know precisely what actions, if any, the CRA intends to take. eBay objects to the disclosure of this information, which it considers a violation of our users' privacy. Naturally, all eBay members are responsible for ensuring that they are in compliance with all laws and regulations relating to their activities online.

When will the information be released to the Canada Revenue Agency?
In accordance with the Court Order, the requested PowerSeller information for the 2004 and 2005 period was released during the week of November 17, 2008. Affected members have been advised by email.

How will the information be released?
The information was provided to the Canada Revenue Agency in electronic form.

Will I be notified before information about me is released to Revenue Canada?
Impacted individuals who are currently members of eBay were notified via email. Unfortunately, we are not able to email individuals who are no longer members of eBay. Those people should continue to watch this space for updates.

What is a PowerSeller?
PowerSellers are eBay sellers who sustain a consistent volume of monthly sales and a high level of total Feedback -- with 98% or better positive rating by other eBay users. PowerSellers must be an active member for 90 days and average a minimum of US$1,000 in sales per month (or the Canadian dollar equivalent), for three consecutive months. The PowerSeller program is optional.




Revenue and Sales-related Questions

Will the Canada Revenue Agency be able to tell what type of items I sell?
Disclosed information will include the selling prices (high bids) of items sold by Canadian PowerSellers in 2004 and 2005.

Will the Canada Revenue Agency be able to tell what kind of items I buy?
No. The CRA has not requested buying information.

Will the Canada Revenue Agency be able to determine how much money I take in?
The Canada Revenue Agency has requested the 2004 and 2005 sales information (high bids) of all items sold by members who held PowerSeller status at some point in either of those years. As payment can take many forms, eBay is not able to provide information regarding the actual payments that were made to eBay members.

Will the Canada Revenue Agency be able to see every transaction I've ever done?
The information request is limited to items sold by PowerSellers in the years 2004 and 2005. However, it is possible that the Canada Revenue Agency will seek further court orders authorizing information for subsequent years.

Will the information indicate where the buyer in each transaction was located?
No, the information requested does not include buyer information.

Why does eBay retain my information?
We retain your information in order to provide our services, create your membership, and to help ensure eBay is as safe and secure as possible. We are also required by law to retain transactional records for a certain period of time. We strenuously object to being forced to release this information.

What has eBay done to protect the privacy of this information?
eBay takes privacy very seriously and protecting our users' privacy is of the utmost importance. In November 2006, the Federal Court of Canada authorized the CRA to impose a requirement on eBay Canada that we release the above-identified information for people who were PowerSellers in 2004 and 2005. We launched a legal challenge to that decision. Despite our efforts, in February 2008, the Federal Court of Canada upheld its November 2006 ruling in favour of the CRA. The appeal of the February, 2008 decision was heard on October 8, 2008. eBay lost this appeal, and as a result it was required to release the requested user information to the Canada Revenue Agency.

How many PowerSellers does this affect?
The Canada Revenue Agency has requested information relating to all Canadian eBay members who held PowerSeller status at any point in 2004 and 2005.

I am no longer a PowerSeller. Does this mean that my information will not go to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)?
The Canada Revenue Agency has requested information relating to all Canadian eBay members who held PowerSeller status at some point in 2004 and 2005, whether or not they are currently active eBay members or PowerSellers.

What if I was only a PowerSeller for part of the year in 2004 or 2005?
The request relates to all Canadian eBay members who held PowerSeller status at any given time in 2004 or 2005.

What if was a PowerSeller in 2004 or 2005, but never displayed the PowerSeller logo?
If you were a PowerSeller at any point in 2004 or 2005, you will be affected by the ruling whether or not you displayed the logo.

I am a Canadian who is registered on eBay.com. Will this affect me?
Canadian residents who are registered on eBay.com and held PowerSeller status in 2004 and 2005 will be impacted by this ruling. The Canada Revenue Agency has requested information relating to all Canadian eBay members who were PowerSellers at any point in 2004 and 2005. Site of registration will not impact our disclosure requirements.

I have always reported all of my income. Do I have anything to worry about?
Sellers are responsible for ensuring that they are in compliance with all laws and regulations relating to their activities online.


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