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Eight million Britons now ‘home webtailers’

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Eight million people now run online retail businesses from home, buying or making their own goods for sale online, according to new research.

Direct Line for Business has termed these entrepreneurs ‘home webtailers’, and says the top sellers are making a very healthy turnover. Analysis of one leading online auction site showed that online sales operations run by private individuals can be sizeable: the top 5% turned over £18,094 a year or more.

But Direct Line says few are aware that they may be running businesses, subject to tax, and that their stock may be uninsured under standard home insurance policies.

Jazz Gakhal, head of Direct Line for Business said: “A large proportion of people clearly don’t view themselves as running a business, despite generating a sizeable turnover selling goods online to be dispatched from their home. People should check with HMRC if their activities online mean they qualify as running a business.

“Stock stored at a home will not be covered by a standard home insurance policy, so people are putting themselves at financial risk. Indeed for those people transporting goods to and from home, insurance is also required to avoid damage in transit.

“We urge people looking to make or sell items from home on a regular basis to organise home business insurance from the start.”

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