eBay is being forced to turn over income figures of some of its top online sellers to the Canadian government after losing a long court battle in which the auction site fought to keep the data private.
At issue was a November 2006 federal court order that eBay Canada Ltd. provide personal information and sales figures for roughly 10,000 PowerSellers to the Canada Revenue Agency. The CRA wanted to know whether the merchants had reported all their eBay earnings in their 2004 and 2005 income tax filings.
PowerSellers are those who make at least $1,000 a month selling on eBay.
eBay.ca fought the order, arguing in part that the information resided on servers in the U.S., and was under the control of its parent company, eBay Inc.
That argument was rejected by a lower court judge in September 2007. eBay asked to postpone compliance, pending an appeal, but was denied in an April 17 ruling that was announced this week.
Andrew Sloss, manager of eBay Canada, indicated the company will continue with its appeal, according to Canadian newspapers.
The case could have broad implications for Canadian commerce, because it sets precedence for requiring businesses to provide customer information to the CRA, noted lawyers for the Toronto firm McCarthy Tétrault LLP, in a recently published summary of the litigation.
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Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.