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Chancellor considering "Amazon tax" for online retailers

Creating a more level playing field for bricks and mortar retailers

13 Aug 2018, more…

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Christmas period

Footfall and sales were in decline

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Chancellor considering "Amazon tax" for online retailers

Posted on 13 Aug 2018

Philip Hammond has said he will consider tax changes hitting online businesses to ensure there is a more level playing field for high street retailers.

The so-called "Amazon tax" for online retailers comes as high street stores demand a fairer system.

Hammond said "More and more of us are buying online. Indeed, Britain has the biggest percentage of online shopping of any major developed economy. That means the high street will change.

"We're very clear that you have to support the high street through that process of change.

"The nature of the offer on the high street is going to change over time. There's going to be less retail, more leisure, bars, and community facilities."

He continued "We want to make sure that the high street remains resilient and that we also make sure that taxation is fair between businesses doing business the traditional way and those doing business online."

He explained that a change in the system "requires us to renegotiate international tax treaties because many of the big online businesses are international companies."

Mr Hammond added: "The European Union has been talking about a tax on online platform businesses based on the value generated.

"That's certainly something we'd be prepared to consider."

Several high profile retail chiefs have called publicly for a level playing field between bricks-and-mortar firms and online giants such as Amazon in terms of tax.

They have pinpointed business rates as their biggest bugbear, labelling the tax archaic and not fit for purpose in the light of online competition.

Amazon pays a minuscule amount in business rates despite its sales dwarfing those of high street retailers with similar property bills.