Feb 7, 2021

Amazon 'paying less business rates than retailers'

According to figures from the Office for National Statistics, full-year retail sales at physical shops for the 12 months ending 31 December 2020 fell 10.3% from £318.5bn in 2019 to £285.8bn. Retail advisor Altus Group says that bricks and mortar retailers would have paid £8.25bn in business rates in 2020, had they not been given a tax holiday due to the pandemic. Arcadia - which owns Topshop, Burton and Dorothy Perkins - would have had to pay £91m in business rates on its 444 stores in 2020, had there not been a tax holiday, Altus Group says. "Our business rates review call for evidence included questions on whether we should shift the balance between online and physical shops by introducing an online sales tax. We're considering responses now." Separately, the Centre for Retail Research calculated the business rates paid by physical shops in 2019 and found that they paid £7.17bn in business rates, or 2.3% of their total retail sales in 2019. The government is currently reviewing the way in which the business rates system works, and is also separately considering a 2% tax on online sales and services.

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