An online sales tax would penalise innovation, warns IEA economist


In the Media

Len Shackleton comments for the Times

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

“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

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