Last night TechUK, the industry body, warned against the measures. “This is a highly complex issue and it is important that Government takes into account the risk of unintended consequences that could result from moving to a revenue-based tax approach,” it said. “Unilateral action in this area continues to risk cutting across international efforts at the OECD.”
Separately, the Treasury is exploring how to crack down on tax avoidance from people who use sharing economy services such as Uber and Airbnb to make money, amid fears they are failing to report their work to HMRC.
It said that many people who use the sites to make extra cash on the side may never have filed tax returns, meaning they are unlikely to be aware how much tax they owe on the earnings. “The growth of online platforms makes it significantly easier for people to earn secondary sources of income. There is therefore a potential opportunity for the dishonest minority to seek to evade paying tax,” the Treasury said.
It pointed to France, where apps and websites must inform users of their tax obligations, or Estonia, where data can be automatically sent to tax authorities, as policies that could potentially be emulated.