Bookshops attack charity tax breaks
Rob Sharp is a freelance journalist specialising in arts and culture. He was on staff at The Independent from July 2007 to December 2011, first as a features writer, and then as the paper’s arts correspondent. He has written for a wide range of newspapers and magazines. For more information visit his website, www.robsharp.com or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday 15 November 2011
A battle has broken out on the high street after bookshops attacked charity shops for using tax breaks to undercut them.
The Booksellers Association has called for an end to tax and business-rate concessions for charity bookshops, arguing that they represent unfair competition.
"Trading conditions for high street retail booksellers are extremely tough in the current climate and unfair competition from charity bookshops is something our members do not need," the association's chief executive, Tim Godfray, told trade publication The Bookseller. "We need to review the strong tax and rate concessions given to charities that run shops."
More than 250 specialist charity bookshops trade in Britain, while around 8,000 traditional charity shops sell books. In 2010, Oxfam made around £20m profit from book sales, selling around 12 million books that year. Charity shops are exempt from corporation tax and do not need to pay VAT on the sale of donated goods. They also receive an 80 per cent relief on business rates.
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