In what is perhaps the strongest push yet for an online sales tax; retail giants including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Kingfisher (owners of B&Q), the Co-op and Greggs have banded together in demand for business rates reform.
Calling themselves the Retail Jobs Alliance, they employ over a third of the retail market in the UK. They were initially formed in response to the lukewarm autumn 2021 budget, which failed to tackle the issues that struggling retailers are feeling today.
The RJA want to see a cut in business rates for shop workers across the UK, but to make this happen, they are in favour of an online sales tax.
They say an online sales tax, with funds raised going towards mitigating business rates for bricks and mortar retailers, would help to level the playing field against retailers that operate exclusively online.
As we’re all too aware here at CPA, the current business rates system is in dire need of reform. Amongst retailers, it’s been known as a “Shops Tax” and has forced the closure of many businesses on the high street.
Tesco Boss Ken Murphey has commented on the call for business rates reform, claiming that amongst those part of the RJA “are businesses with significant online operations as well as physical shops, so would expect to pay any new online sales tax as well as benefiting from a business rates cut”. A recent study reaffirms this statement, finding that the majority of retailers also trading online, support the responsible implementation of an online sales tax.
Open consultation regarding an Online sales tax began in February, and the chancellor has promised some form of an overhaul of the current business rates system towards the end of the year. However, many are claiming that the timing of such a response would be too late.
We openly support an online sales tax at CPA and would love to see the burden of business rates alleviated for our retailers. It’s the high street that keeps our communities thriving, so needless to say would love to see the government act quicker on its talk on business rates reform.
In the meantime, we continue to operate as business rates specialists. If you’d like to find out how much you could save, please get in touch.