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Stealth taxes on Uber and Airbnb won’t hurt the masses

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December 09, 2020 at 08:04PM

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VAT on Uber taxi trips and Airbnb stays in post-pandemic revenue plans passes the fairness test

A chancellor who will borrow £394bn this financial year has to come up with a few new ways to raise money, and here’s a Treasury idea that sounds modest but interesting: put VAT on Uber taxi trips and stays in Airbnb properties.

It would also seem to pass a basic test of fairness. Most Uber drivers and Airbnb providers are too small to be registered for VAT, but, taken as a whole, their sectors genuinely compete with companies that do pay VAT. Every night in a seaside Airbnb is one less visit to the local hotel, so there is also a question of keeping the competitive playing field level.

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