E-commerce is already having a major impact on the life and economy of the nation and will have an increasing role in the next millennium. The Government recognises that it presents both challenges and opportunities for taxation and tax administration.

The e-commerce paper published today by the Inland Revenue and HM Customs and Excise details the work the two Departments are doing to meet the Government’s objectives for e-commerce and e-government in the UK.


1. The two departments are in the forefront of the move to Information Age Government outlined in the Modernising Government White Paper. They have sought, and continue to seek, to take advantage of technological advances to improve the service they provide.

2. Both the Inland Revenue and Customs are introducing Internet filing of tax returns, and the first electronic submissions will be possible during 2000/2001. The Government intends to offer a discount on tax returns filed over the Internet as announced in Budget 1999. Further details will be announced in Budget 2000.

3. The Government is committed to ensuring that taxation is not a barrier to the growth of e-commerce, and has introduced a package of measures to encourage enterprise, growth and investment in the UK. At the same time tax revenues must remain secure. The Government is working with business and its international partners, to resolve and clarify particular issues and establish consensus on those of international significance.


1. The Government has set a goal of creating in the UK the best environment in the world in which to trade electronically by 2002.

2. While this paper is not a consultation document, the Inland Revenue and Customs would welcome views from readers (contact details are in the paper).

3. CD-ROM copies of the paper will be distributed with edition 44 of Tax Bulletin (to be published 13 December 1999).

Press Enquiries to
HM Customs & Excise,
Public Relations Office,
New King’s Beam House,
22 Upper Ground,
London SE1 9PJ.

Others should contact their local VAT Business Advice Centre, listed under Customs & Excise in the telephone book.

Copies of the paper in paper format and on CD-ROM can be obtained by telephoning the Inland Revenue .

The paper can also be found at :
Customs & Excise Internet address:

Inland Revenue Internet address:

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