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  • Writer's pictureRuori McMahon

Businesses are going online, should there be an online sales tax to reduce business rates?

Peter Foley is our resident guru here at CPA, and has been passionately following the shifting world of business rates for many years. With a keen political insight, Peter’s writing reveals how policy change is key to understanding your business rates further, and how this could translate into substantial savings. In his weekly column, Peter also outlines a desired path forward, with changes we’d like to see implemented for a fairer system on the nation's business rates.


.There has been occasional hand-wringing over the general unfairness of business rates, by aspiring PMs Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss.

However, We've yet to hear anything specific about reforms to the current system, leading us to conclude that yet another increase in rates, come the 2023 Rating List, cannot be ruled out.

We feel the Government should not be simultaneously tough on the high street, and totally laissez-faire when it comes to online commerce.

Currently, bricks and mortar stores are effectively funding online firms, by presenting a free showcase for digital businesses, which have no rents or rates to factor into their retail prices.

Office-based clients, whose post-pandemic strategies of flexible working and hybrid systems for the majority of employees, have created an overall under-occupation of space. With the new Rating List on the horizon, it is vital that non-domestic rates should reflect the realities of working life.

To provide the tax revenue which Government is clearly desperate to find, We can't stress enough the vital importance of an online sales tax, a pot of money so enormous that even modest levies could provide not only revenue but a "fighting fund" to save our high streets.

In the meantime, solutions to the effective reduction of overheads can be found by using precise, data-rich reports to the billing authority, and can lead to sizably reduced bills and new RVs before the 2023 new Rating List.

Our terms are no win no fee, transparent and fair. It is highly advisable that office-based operators request a no obligation "rates health check", as a positive reaction to the "new normal" of commercial life.

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