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September 22, 2017

Uber Loses Its License – what does this mean for the taxes of the tech world?

Written By Nikki McCaig
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Announced today at 11:30am, as of the end of September, the app-based taxi service, Uber, will no longer have license to work in London. In a series of press releases and outcomes, it was revealed that the company has amassed over $40million of unpaid taxes by treating individual drivers like a separate business – rather than officially listing them as members of the umbrella company.

With over 3.5 million registered users, the company has risen in popularity over the past 2-3 years, with almost half of the adult population in London using it as a primary source of transport. However, the decision to revoke Uber’s license was one made to ‘protect’ the users from both corporate corruption and discrimination. Uber has also faced a number of recent disputes with allegations of sexism and bullying against its drivers, as many unions and company representatives have called out for better standards and working conditions for the employees.

But whilst this national scandal emerges, what does this mean for the rest of the tech industry, and in particular, the apps we all love and use today?

Tighter Tax Scrutiny

Though Uber’s use of tax evasion is, arguably, unique to them, there are other ways that apps and tech industries have avoided full tax historically too. Both Google and Facebook have previously been accused of underpaying their taxes, as well as digital giant Apple, all of which resulting in billions of pounds of debt.

The outcome from this incident, however, could mean that increased scrutiny and pressure is placed on app developers and creators to be entirely transparent with their financial dealings. Any app or tech product  with even a white lie financial margin could come under fire with the Uber downfall in mind.

Localised Workforce Struggles

One of the main criticisms of the Uber revoking is that it is disrupting one of the key modes of transport around the city centre of London. With so many office workers complaining that their daily commute has now been shut down, it’s likely to assume that a difficult ‘period of adjustment’ will be affecting the fast-paced running of the London tech scene.

This might not seem like the largest issue facing tech companies after the Uber scandal, but from the perspective of an industry insider perspective, it could make the typical flow of work slow considerably.

Changes to Hi-Tech Transport

The worlds of tech and transport were set to be united with the rise of Uber. A new, innovative way of combining your favourite apps and your favourite way to travel! With HS2 in development and other traditional forms of transport being upgraded into economic hi-tech alternatives, the future of the travel industry was looking optimistically technological.

However, it’s no surprise that Uber’s fall from grace has upset the majority, and a public lack of faith in tech-travel hybridity could mean a significant drop in investment and conversion for similar upcoming projects.

The Uber scandal is looking to be headline news from here on out – who knows what else might change after September ends?