Philip Hammond’s proposals for a so-called ‘Amazon tax’ on online retailers addresses a legitimate problem.
When multinational businesses can cut their tax bills despite soaring profits, that’s a sign of an ill-designed and out of date tax code. The Chancellor is right to take corrective measures.
However, there are two parts of the Amazon tax story which are concerning.
The first is Hammond’s stated willingness to press ahead with a levy on web giants even before he can secure international agreement – it would be bad for the buying public and the Government both if precipitate action were to make the UK an unattractive place to invest.
The second is that one of the arguments being adduced in favour of the new tax is to “create a level playing field” with ailing bricks-and-mortar retailers.