Taxing online purchases is pointless

Despite opposition from the main trade body for Britain’s biggest retailers, several major high street firms have called for an online sales tax to protect traditional shops.

Tesco’s chief executive, Dave Lewis, has called for an “Amazon tax” on online sales to prevent more high street shops from going to the wall. Britain’s biggest supermarket said a tax of 2% on online sales of physical goods would raise £1.5bn a year, enough to cut business rates by 20% for all retailers… More here.

This is related to the post further down, but it does not seem like a decent solution to me. Even if we ignore the bizarre notion of trying to limit progress and natural trends it would not add up for most people.

If I go to my local shopping centre I have to pay a minimum of £2.50 to park my car. I have to pay between 5p and 10p for a bag to carry my purchases and then there is the added time etc.

A 2% tax would mean that I would potentially save money on a purchase above £55, but the reality is that the product will likely be cheaper online anyway. This feels like political grandstanding rather than a rational tool to save retail shops.

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