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An online sales tax would penalise innovation, warns IEA economist

Professor Len Shackleton, Editorial and Research Fellow at free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, commented on the launch of the government’s consultation on the introduction of an online sales tax 

“Bringing in an online sales tax offers a new source of revenue, but it adds to the complications of our tax system. It would also penalise a new form of commerce which benefits the consumer. 

“The idea that it should be introduced to offset the costs of brick-and-mortar retailers – premises and business rates – is irrational. It is like a tax on steam engines to protect horse-and-cart transport.

“We should encourage technological innovations which benefit the consumer, not penalise them.”

Notes to editors

Contact: Emily Carver, Head of Media, 07715 942 731

IEA spokespeople are available for interview and further comment.

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