Business accounting with Ebay and Paypal records

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I run my business on Ebay along with a website and all monies go into my Paypal account.

Now on Ebay you don't get proper invoices nor can create them, do I i need to print off all emails regards to payments and purchases etc or is it enough just to print off:

  • The monthly Ebay invoice
  • Each and every transaction page that goes through Paypal (so every purchase/sale & Royal Mail postage page) This gives you all the information as to ID number, address, names, price, product description, ebay number ID, postage cost etc.
  • Paypal's monthly Account Statements which details how many purchases/sales each day & money made/lost at end of the month
  • The monthly Paypay 'Detailed' Financial Statement - this statement give you: the date of purchase/sale, ID number, person I received money from/paid money to, the price, paypal fee and net profit.

I'm not sure what I need to do as also I only order stock supplier from Ebay and the majority of them don't get delivered with an invoice or receipt - which is why I am assuming printing off the above every month will cover the fact I don't get proper invoices or receipts.

Also I don't keep an excel spreadsheet with all my outgoings/incomings as Paypal does this for me automatically every month with the monthly account statements.

I would appreciate any help on this matter as I'm getting worried i'm not keeping enough information.

Many thanks



Hi Lisa,

The records you keep should be proportionate to the work you do. You, or your accountant, need to ensure that at the end of each accounting period, the figures will represent your true profit (or loss).

If all of your sales are through EBay and you are satisfied that the spreadsheets they provide are adequate then it looks like you are on the right tracks.

You can keep records in electronic format so no need to print everything off if you are happy you will still be able to access them.

On that topic, here is what HMRC recommend you keep :

I am reliably informed that HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) have a piece of software that sits on EBay tracking all of the UK related transactions so if the worst came to the worst, maybe they could provide any missing info!

Do you have a business bank account? If not and the bank has private and business transactions going through it you better keep a note of where any non-business receipts came from, in the event that got a visit from HMRC.

And finally on the question of HMRC I suspect that as a new enterprise, you probably will get a business record check from HMRC. They think that 40% of SME's keep poor records and so are planning 200,000 of these over a 4 year period and expect to raise an additional £600 million as a result. see the following link:

I understand that they have already started a pilot project.

If you use an accountant ask them about fee protection insurance which covers their professional costs of dealing with an HMRC enquiry and should include these Business Records Checks, allowing a bit of guidance and hand holding.

Good luck.


At the very least you need to get the summary from paypal


Thank you for the replies and advise - off to see an accountant Monday


21 Jul 2011
Steve Baxter

Hi Lisa,

I had a similar problem from buying some supplies and tools off Ebay. I did find that I could print a Paypal invoice for any purchases I had made, from my paypal panel which was quite adequate for my accountant


Hi Lisa,

The official line from HMRC is that suitable evidence needs to be kept to demonstrate your accounts are accurate and true. This means that where possible it is always best (for your sake and that of any regukatory body) to have kept sufficient evidence so that in the event of data corruption or loss accounts can be reconstructed.

If you have book keeping software you can do this yourself or if you have an accountant/book keeper they will do this on your behalf regularly anyway.

Your statement from Paypal will show any charges/income/VAT etc. so that side of things is relatively straightforward, just ensure that invoices are created to support your sales ledger (an asset).

Purchases - get in the habit of creating purchase orders so that the cost can be apportioned to the correct accounting period and that accruals and prepayments can be taken care of within your accounts more accurately and in a timely manner.

If you would like further advice, please feel free to contact me via email or my phone number is on my profile.

Best wishes,