Recorded music, retail
It seems the UK government’s plans to stem the sale of VAT free CDs and DVDs in the UK faces a new challenge. With the Low Value Consignment Relief (LVCR) tax dodge loophole used by online retailers based in the Channel Islands having been closed, the Guardian revealed that The Hut was now using a warehouse in Chicago, seemingly to benefit from the tax relief that occurs when low-cost goods are sold from outside the EU into the UK. It means The Hut does not need to charge VAT on CDs or DVDs, giving it a 20% advantage over mainland sellers. One of the lobby groups that campaigned against LVCR abuse has now said that some operators are finding other ways of avoiding paying tax, but predicted that most alternative methods would be stopped by the authorities in due course too. Independent retailers argue that the exploitation of LVCR by a small number of big mail-order firms, plus HMV and the supermarkets, helped contribute to the demise of many indie record sellers, who couldn’t compete on the high street, or transform their brands into successful mail-order businesses, because their offshore competitors had such a big advantage.