The UK government considered an “Amazon tax” like the one in Barcelona but stopped it due to its “complexity”. Catalonia

Amazon Trucks in London, pictured December 2021.Dan Kitwood (Getty Images)

The UK government opened a consultation period last February regarding the possibility of increasing rates and taxes Online sales. One of the facts considered in this reconsideration of the situation was the increasingly disadvantaged state in which traditional firms found themselves faced with the unstoppable disruption of a new economy. This is one of the reasons why Barcelona for study, design and implementation (scheduled for March 2023)popularly known as Amazon rate, which also seeks to combat pollution and congestion caused by home delivery. This fall, the UK shelved the project for the time being due to its “complexity” and to avoid “unwanted distortions”.

“some Retailers with a physical presence on the street They believe the sector is being stifled by a much lower tax burden than its digital competitors,” the previous UK government advisory report reads. “The government recognizes the value that high streets and town centers provide, as places to live and work, and places to visit. These centers have been constantly evolving, and it is not in the will of the executive power to interfere with the emergence of innovative works. But it is important, at the same time, to maintain the ability to respond,” the text said.

Although the study wanted to be very detailed, analyzing the implications or distribution of a new tax on each of the players of digital commerce – only online sales, or those made by phone or email? Online bookings and in-store payment and collection? Tax for wholesaler only, or also for big parcel operators? – I ruled out paying more attention, as other countries have, to environmental impact digital trade. Internationally, there have been proposals to charge flat rate deliveries (a flat rate for the delivery of goods to private addresses), including New York or Paris. He pointed to potential environmental benefits, such as cleaner air or reduced traffic congestion. But, on the other hand, if an online sales tax incentivizes purchases in physical commerce, with requirements for personal travel, rather than home delivery, the environmental impact may be the opposite of that intended. The report concludes that the evidence that this steady rate of distribution brings environmental benefits is far from clear.

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Finally, the crisis broke out last September, when the then prime minister was unlucky Liz Truss A. agreed A historic tax cut terrified the marketssinking the value of the pound sterling and making the public debt more expensive, forced the new government Rishi Sunak To provide New budget plan brought more financial pressure and further cuts in public spending. As compensation, the proposal to impose a tax on digital commerce was put in one of the drawers: “After opening the consultation process, the government decided not to impose an online sales tax. It was an idea launched in connection with the reform of various taxes on companies. The decision responds to concerns raised by some of the participants in the consultation The complexity of the new tax, and the risk of causing unintended and unfair distortions between different business models, were crucial,” explained the Sunak Executive to justify closing the debate, which, however, still lurks in the UK united.

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