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Is it legal to sell used panties?

In the hope of keeping this site relevant to the needs of its readers I keep a close eye on the search terms that have brought people here. Some I ignore. I hope everyone searching for answers to  “are wellington boots allowable for tax for farmers?” and “are damages for whiplash injury taxable?” found their visits here enjoyable but I doubt we were much help.

So I was delighted to see that today’s burning question is much more in tune with what the site is about, even though I don’t have much idea of the answer: is it legal to sell used panties?

The law seems to vary around the world so if you want to know what’s legal and what’s not it is probably worth having a good look round  The Panty Trust site. A couple of important points I picked up are that you cannot use e-bay or Paypal for a panty selling business because it breaches their rules. And if you’re exporting you cannot use the US Postal Service (it breaches their hygiene rules), while according to this story it is illegal to export used panties to Ghana, or indeed used mattresses.

The tax angle is much more straightforward. Income tax is due on the profit, which is simply the sale proceeds from which you can take off the cost of the panties you have sold together with the business expenses such as advertising, postage & packing etc. If you already have an escorting business you can combine the two in your accounts and Tax Returns. In theory you could run the panty business through a limited company, but unless you are selling lingerie on an industrial scale it is unlikely to make tax sense.

And if you are VAT registered you need to add 20% VAT for sales to people in the UK, and to non-business customers elsewhere in the EU. You can also reclaim the VAT you get charged on the stock you purchase. But as it is hard to conceive that your customers could be buying from you in the course of their business, you should avoid VAT registration if you can.

5 comments

  1. Definitely not illegal 🙂 Plus the whole tax issue is very iffy as well. I suppose if you started a merchant account through your bank so that you could accept credit cards directly then you would have to pay taxes. But if you only accept gift cards or concealed cash then there’s really nothing more than “gifting” going on with each transaction. I mean where’s the proof that you’re making any profit without setting up a site as an actual business? Just thought I’d share my perspective and I hope it’s appreciated 🙂
    Hannah
    (2 Year online Used Panty Seller)

    • Jolyon says:

      Thanks for your comments, Hannah. I’m happy to take your word for it on the question of legality.

      However on the tax issue I don’t believe it is iffy at all, certainly in the UK – I’m not qualified to comment on the position in the US where the tax code is very different. For a panty seller operating in the UK, there are really 2 questions: is it taxable? and if it is can I get away with not declaring it?

      The simplest summary of whether an activity amounts to a taxable trade is this (from a 1974 tax case): “trade means ..operations of a commercial character by which the trader provides to customers for reward some kind of goods or services.” If a panty seller intends to make money and has a web-site setting out what they are selling and how much it costs, that is going to amount to trading, and the profits will be taxable. It really doesn’t make any difference whether the panty seller receives money, or gift cards, or any other tangible or intangible reward.

      As to the likelihood of being caught, I certainly would not advise ignoring it. HMRC have recently run a campaign to persuade on-line traders to register and pay tax, and although panty sellers may not be their prime target I don’t think it is safe to assume they will be ignored.

      The details of the HMRC on-line traders campaign are here http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/campaigns/emarket.htm

  2. Will says:

    Interesting article! The selling of used knickers or any underwear in itself isn’t illegal, however, I believe that income made has to be declared. Hope that helps!

    • Jolyon says:

      Thanks for you comment, Fetbido. Interesting website you have there!

      On the tax issue I cannot see why it would be awkward. Any profits made from selling used panties are quite definitely taxable. And registering with the tax man should not be a problem. You simply tell HMRC you are dealing in second hand clothes. They don’t need to know any more unless they launch an enquiry, and even then I can’t see they would be very exercised about the precise nature of your trading stock. As long as a seller pays their tax HMRC are not going get prudish about the nature of the business.

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