Calls grow for online booking platform tax shakeup

UK Hospitality has called on the Government to provide equality in the tax system by ensuring that transactions on online platforms are taxed appropriately.

The trade body has responded to HMRC’s consultation on online platforms role in ensuring tax compliance by their users, recommending greater provision of information for smaller users and, if necessary, the tax collection for and payment to Government as a business service, and a requirement for large-scale users to proactively provide HMRC with relevant business activity to ensure tax compliance.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “There needs to be a level-playing field between online and property-based businesses and digital companies. The current tax system is completely inadequate to deal with the complexities of the digital age and hospitality businesses find themselves at a disadvantage.

“The Government must address this inequality and this includes ensuring that the appropriate tax is collected when online platforms are used. Whether through ignorance or as a result of deliberate avoidance, online transactions are frequently not subjected to tax. As it stands, there is too great an opportunity for online transactions to avoid paying tax. Not only does this deprive the Exchequer of vital tax revenues, it creates a plainly unfair disparity between online and hospitality businesses that must comply with rigorous legislation.