The problem with platforms

Bill Dodwell considers the impact that the gig economy is having on employment and asks how we can tax it more fairly

The topic for discussion at the latest CIOT/IFS debate on 23 June was ‘How should platforms and gig economy workers be taxed?’ The speakers were Stuart Adam (IFS), Neil Ross (Tech‑UK), Meredith McCammond (LITRG) and me. 

A good place to start is to ask what we mean by the gig economy. BEIS and the Institute for Employment Studies conducted some valuable research in 2018 (see bit.ly/3vMXro1), where following definition was put forward:

‘The gig economy involves the exchange of labour for money between individuals or companies via digital platforms that actively facilitate matching between providers and customers, on a short‑term and payment‑by‑task basis.’