Majority of retailers in UK back online sales tax

Some 89% of UK retailers say that they back the introduction of an online sales tax, to level the playing field and reduce the pressure on physical retailers, according to a new survey from Colliers.

The news comes as the UK government’s consultation on the introduction of an online sales tax nears its conclusion on May 20.

The research reveals that 71% of retailers already online are in favour, while 100% of those that have no ecommerce presence back the tax.

The tax is also supported by 98% of retail landlords and investors.

However, opinions are more divided on Click and Collect, with a 54 to 46 split on whether it should be included in the proposal.

READ MORE: Government’s online sales tax plan is ‘terribly timed’

In addition, 70% said that essential items should either be exempt or pay a lower rate, while 66% said that smaller retailers should also see a reduced rate.

Some 55% also saw a case for lower or no rates for web-based apps used in store and 52% for digital products.

“Although our survey is a snapshot of our retail clients it does throw up some interesting pointers,” Colliers head of business rates John Webber said.

“It certainly seems there is overwhelming support to bring in some sort of online sales tax to try and level the playing field and take the full burden of business rates off bricks and mortar retailers.

“It is only right that we should try and re-balance the system and create a fairer playing field for all.

“But it is also essential any monies raised by an online tax is used directly to alleviate the high business rates burden and does not go into a government black hole.”

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