Online Shopping Tax

Rasczak

Distinguished Member
A tax on online sales, as a means to shore up the High Street, has long been mooted but now seems to be edging closer to reality:


What do people think of this? IMHO people have stopped using High Streets for a whole mix of reasons - car parking, limited choice, poor sales service, inconvenient etc - and not just prices. I don't see why online shoppers should pay extra to shore up failing businesses.
 

captainarchive

Distinguished Member
Last edited:

psikey

Distinguished Member
simple don't fund the NHS the way we do and save £130billion per year
I'll pay the extra tax thanks. No US style private health care for me.

Only needed NHS hospital once (tonsils as a kid) in my 50+ life but don't want worry/fear if/when I do get something serious. By all means continue to improve efficiency, but within the public sector for the clinical side of things.
 

scarty16

Well-known Member
I didn't say US style. Everyone always assumes that it is UK or US and there are no other options. There are eg: Aussie style.
 

captainarchive

Distinguished Member
The point is with The High Street in decline, tax revenue from Business Rates is also declining. An online sales tax seems to be a good way of making up the shortfall.
 

Bigfingers

Distinguished Member
One of the main reasons the high street is in decline before covid, was the disgraceful parking charges, penalties and facilities either operated by local councils or subbed out to private companies, together with the high rates local councils impose.
 

Rasczak

Distinguished Member
The point is with The High Street in decline, tax revenue from Business Rates is also declining. An online sales tax seems to be a good way of making up the shortfall.
But why target it specifically at online shoppers? All that does is keep the High Street on life support for a little longer. Far better to allow High Streets to reform or fail - capitalising on the opportunities that presents - and adapt tax raising measures accordingly.

We are all going to have to pay an awful lot more tax in the future (I heard one assessment saying that income tax might need to add an extra £0.12 per £1 on everyone's tax bills :eek: ) but the key is to ensure it is levied fairly and not designed to shore up unsustainable businesses.
 

captainarchive

Distinguished Member
But why target it specifically at online shoppers?
Many online shoppers also shop on The High Street and more and more people are abandoning The High Street to shop online. If shoppers are switching how they shop it makes perfect sense to also switch taxing retail floor space to taxing online sales.



All that does is keep the High Street on life support for a little longer. Far better to allow High Streets to reform or fail - capitalising on the opportunities that presents - and adapt tax raising measures accordingly.

We are all going to have to pay an awful lot more tax in the future (I heard one assessment saying that income tax might need to add an extra £0.12 per £1 on everyone's tax bills :eek: ) but the key is to ensure it is levied fairly and not designed to shore up unsustainable businesses.
How does an online sales tax 'shore up unsustainable businesses'?
 

Flynch191

Active Member
Maybe if the rent wasn’t soo high for shop keepers and pub landlords etc they could survive.
But councils/landlords only see the $$$ and not the local area becoming a ghost town with nothing but take away food and charity shops left open. And ofc a Greg’s 😁
Where I live it’s all new houses and more houses... shops have all but disappeared. No new schools and a library that’s barely surviving.. post office gone ...towns centres are disappearing off the map. Leaving only internet to buy stuff or a trip to the nearest city.
 

Bigfingers

Distinguished Member
I went into town last year to have breakfast at a local Debenhams with some elderly relatives. I was there for 2 hours 20 mins the parking charge on the multi storey was £8.50. The sum and time on the ticket has stuck with me vividly.

Sorry but im not having the piss taken out of me like that. I wont be back.
 

captainarchive

Distinguished Member
Because it is imposing a financial penalty for one type of activity versus the other. It is using the tax system to encourage one form of spending versus another.
I agree shoring up The High Street is a waste of time and money but your understanding of shoring up a business is different to what most people understand by that statement. Taxing online shoppers only leads to shoring up The High Street if the tax collected was ring fenced and handed over to high street businesses. This is not being suggested with a new tax of online sales. You've also failed to appreciate high street businesses have been paying financial penalties that online businesses don't pay. Why should online retailers continue to profit from a tax exemption when high street businesses can't.
 

Rasczak

Distinguished Member
I agree shoring up The High Street is a waste of time and money but your understanding of shoring up a business is different to what most people understand by that statement. Taxing online shoppers only leads to shoring up The High Street if the tax collected was ring fenced and handed over to high street businesses. This is not being suggested with a new tax of online sales. You've also failed to appreciate high street businesses have been paying financial penalties that online businesses don't pay. Why should online retailers continue to profit from a tax exemption when high street businesses can't.
I think you have a very two-dimensional concept of how tax is used to influence us. Just because revenue isn't being used for something, doesn't mean it does not have an effect. By way of example, the enhanced stamp duty on second homes serves to deter Buy-to-Let landlords regardless of where the money goes. Same same here where the proposed online tax is being used is target the very essence of most online sales, namely the cheapest price to the consumer.

Furthermore, the fact you phrase part of your argument as the High Street paying "financial penalties" really just betrays the fact that those businesses are redundant. If people wanted what the High Street has to offer - such as a consumer experience, central location, stock on shelf for demo etc - then those "penalties" wouldn't matter. The fact that customers don't want that is no reason to try and shore it up by partisan taxation.
 

captainarchive

Distinguished Member
I think you have a very two-dimensional concept of how tax is used to influence us. Just because revenue isn't being used for something, doesn't mean it does not have an effect. By way of example, the enhanced stamp duty on second homes serves to deter Buy-to-Let landlords regardless of where the money goes. Same same here where the proposed online tax is being used is target the very essence of most online sales, namely the cheapest price to the consumer.
I understand all that but you were talking about an online shopping tax shoring up the High Street. Using tax to influence behaviour is an entirely different matter. People don't say the duty paid on alcohol is 'shoring up' the bottled water industry.

Furthermore, the fact you phrase part of your argument as the High Street paying "financial penalties" really just betrays the fact that those businesses are redundant. If people wanted what the High Street has to offer - such as a consumer experience, central location, stock on shelf for demo etc - then those "penalties" wouldn't matter. The fact that customers don't want that is no reason to try and shore it up by partisan taxation.
I was quoting you when you used the phrase "financial penalties".
 

IronGiant

Moderator
By way of example, the enhanced stamp duty on second homes serves to deter Buy-to-Let landlords regardless of where the money goes.
Does it really deter buy to let landlords or does it just serve to increase the rent charged?
 

Rasczak

Distinguished Member
I was quoting you when you used the phrase "financial penalties".
There will be a financial penalty on online sales if they impose an online tax. The fact you there-cycle that phrase for the High Street just shows what they are paying for - namely their High Street location - is superfluous to most customers.
 

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