Budget 2016: George Osborne's digital tax breaks prove Britain's a world leader in the sharing economy

Debbie Wosskow
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Actor James Franco Designs his Hollywood Forever Cemetery Pop-Up at Airbnb's Hello LA Design Lab
People using the sharing economy will get tax breaks (Source: Getty)

The digital age tax break is a colossal win for Britain.

We are the first in the world to introduce a sharing economy allowance that allows individuals to earn up to £2,000 tax free. Chancellor George Osborne, has today divided this into two allowances, each worth £1,000 a year, for both trading and property income.

The Treasury estimates this could benefit more than 700,000 taxpayers - and will cost the government around £200m a year.

This move demonstrates how the UK is truly the home of the sharing economy and leading the global stage in this space. Whilst the US has previously been recognised as the most established in the sharing economy, today’s budget announcement proves that the UK is one step ahead.

Read more: Airbnb hosts and eBay sellers will get tax breaks

The trade body, Sharing Economy UK, has championed tax breaks such as this for some time. We want to make the sharing economy even more accessible for self starters - to help them reap the benefits of the sharing economy and make the most of their assets.

Consumers can now confidently use platforms such as Airbnb and TaskRabbit to top up their income without the fear that they are breaking the rules. There will be no forms to fill in, or tax to pay, encouraging a wider adoption of the sharing economy.

We now live and work in a different way; the sharing economy provides people, particularly women, with a much more flexible way of working.

Read more: 2.5m people a month are now part of the sharing economy

Of those participating in the sharing economy, 65 per cent are female. This move brings us a step closer to empowering these women and other micro-entrepreneurs to live and work in a way that suits them.

The digital tax break announcement certainly shows that the Government is taking note of the changing nature of work. It is a step in the right direction, and the proposed increase from initiatives such as the rent-a-room allowance (from £4,250 to £7,500) shows that there is opportunity to grow.

Today’s digital age tax break is a great starting point for us.

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