3 Jun 2013 08:46am

Retailers' tax bill up 65%

The tax burden for large retailers has soared by 65% over the last seven years, according to research from PwC

The tax intake from retailers in the Hundred Group of companies – which includes most of the FTSE 100 and some other large private companies - reached nearly £8.3bn last year.

This compares with an average of 39% across all industries in the same group.

Large retailers in the Hundred Group include stalwarts Marks & Spencer, John Lewis, Next and Alliance Boots.

Despite cuts in the level of corporation tax, payments of the levy by retailers within the group have risen by 11% since 2005, according to PwC. Other taxes including business rates, and employers’ national insurance contributions have risen almost 80% over the same period – the research concluded that for every £1 of corporation tax, the UK’s biggest retailers paid almost £2.40 in other taxes.

According to PwC, the retailers in the Hundred Group paid £3.99bn of tax in 2012, up from £3.86bn in 2011, and when other taxes are added the full contribution was £8.28bn, up from £8.17bn in 2011.

Across the UK retail sector as a whole, business rate contributions rose more than 30% between 2008 and 2010.

Christine Cross, chief retail and consumer adviser to PwC, said, “Retail in the UK not only gives domestic employment, but also stimulates consumer confidence and makes a significant contribution to the public purse. However, high business rates represent a significant burden for those still trying to balance physical stores with online retail.”

After another difficult year on the High Street, there was disappointment  in the retail sector that this year's Budget didn't see any change in the business rate system, which large retailers have frequently cited as a source of concern. 

Helen Roxburgh


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