Rishi Sunak considers online sales tax – move could raise £2billion for the Treasury

Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, is currently considering a number of measures which seek to kick-start the economy. The financial situation in the UK took a turn for the worse due to the lockdown crisis which first hit the country in March.

The government then announced a variety of support measures which were targeted at helping individuals financially affected by the crisis.

As a result, government spending related to the crisis has skyrocketed, and the Treasury are looking for ways to bring the bill down.

The Chancellor is now considering a tax on online retail sales, which could raise a significant amount of money for the government.

Business closures for a number of months have clearly taken their toll on high street retailers, which many suggested were ailing before the COVID-19 crisis.

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However, concerns have been raised about how the tax could affect consumers and their shopping habits.

Some have said it is consumers who will bear the brunt of the increase in tax, affecting their finances, rather than that of online firms.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) stated consumers would face higher prices if such a tax was enacted.

Tom Ironside, director of business and regulation at the BRC said: “Taxing the sale or delivery of online goods would simply be another burden on an already overtaxed industry, one that would ultimately hit consumer spending through higher prices.”

The government, however, has insisted the policy could be worthwhile in the effort to raise money.

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Express.co.uk has approached the Treasury for comment on the online sales tax.

The Treasury discussed the plans for an online sales tax in a consultation document.

The document read: “Some commentators argue that the business rates system creates a distortion within the retail sector, favouring online retailers that can operate without the high-value properties that are a feature of more traditional retail.

“This has led to proposals that the government should levy a tax on companies based on their online sales, and that this could be used to fund business rates reductions for retail properties.”

The Chancellor is currently undertaking a spending review which is expected to set out the government’s plans for Parliament over the next three years. 

The review will focus on several areas of the UK economy in the process of recovery.

Mr Sunak has not fixed a set spending “envelope” according to the government, but has said spending will grow in real terms to invest in the priorities of Britons.



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