How Might An Online Sales Tax Impact Your Business

Every firm of limited size without an in-house team to take on the task will need a small business tax accountant – and for more reasons than might be appreciated.

As well as dealing with the present accounts and tax situation, an accountant can also help a firm plan ahead for any relevant changes to tax laws. This may include an online sales tax.

The government is consulting on this possibility right now. While this takes place, a survey by real estate firm Colliers has shown that there is significant support for the idea of levying extra tax on online firms to remove the advantage they have over firms with bricks-and-mortar premises, who face all the costs running premises entail.

According to the survey, 89 per cent of retail landlords and clients would support the tax as a means of taking pressure off business rates. This included all those polled who did not have an online presence, 98 per cent of landlords but, perhaps surprisingly, 71 per cent of online-only retailers agreed with the idea too.

The latter figure may suggest the idea is widely supported on the grounds of fairness, as well as the fact that online retailers may personally appreciate having thriving high streets to visit when they go shopping themselves.

While this would have the effect of levelling the playing field between online firms and those with physical stores, it would clearly also have implications for a small business, depending which category they come into.

If your firm is an exclusively online firm, your taxes would go up, which would mean you need to make wise decisions about your finances.

Equally, if you are a retailer with a physical store or a landlord, the situation may be more favourable, allowing you an opportunity to plan ahead with your accountant on how to use the money saved from lower business rates.

The consultation on an online sales tax concludes on May 20th.