Sunday, December 02, 2012

Why Google Will Double Your Council Tax

As we enter the holiday season I, for one, am changing my behaviour. For years Amazon has provided an easy e-shopping option. But I object to their social status on tax and will now be seeking out homegrown alternatives such as Firebox, Iwantoneofthose.com and notonthehighstreet.com.

You see, we have a business time bomb ticking away that the politicians just haven't seen.

Let me explain. Retailers pay ridiculous amounts of tax in the UK in the form of local rates. But there are many areas where shops remain empty. Indeed, there are large towns like Rotherham where even Macdonalds has pulled out.

The good news is that this cleanses our high streets from the identikit chains that have bedeviled our towns and cities. The bad news is that there is no one to take their place.

From travel agents to banks, from gadget shops to specialist retailers, only clothes, pound stores and estate agents seem to have survived.

Our economy has moved online, but our tax system is rooted offline. The result is an urban wasteland where all the revenue has been sucked offshore by non tax paying entities like Google, Amazon, Apple and eBay.

But the problem is worse than this. I believe that you cannot start a successful  online business in the UK unless you pay serious money to one of these three US leeches, so instead of paying to support your community, you're paying American billionaires.

In any other era, they would have been recognised as monopolies and dealt with. Instead we find our government selling British business, local government and their own Treasury down the line in order to curry favour with businesspeople who are only beholden to US shareholders.

So, when you next walk down a high street near you and tut at the boarded up shops, know that the fault lays firmly at the door of our spineless government, who are incapable of putting two and two together. Worse still, they support this rape and pillage.

And there next time your council tax, or indeed any tax, goes up, know that it is because you are subsidising those American behemoths unless you vote now with your pocket, as I'm doing.

And the answer ? Simply to apply VAT and corporate tax at the point of consumption.