But please do not miss the significance of the issue: if Uber is the contractor (and it is hard to see how it is otherwise now) then literally billions of VAT may be owed by it to tax authorities in the U.K. and around the world. And this matters. Tax abuse is at the heart of much of the gig economy. The apparent success of many companies in this sector does not come down to their ability to replace a phone call with an app messaging system. It has instead been about cutting out VAT and employer’s national insurance at cost to the state, public services, fair competition and local services.
Yer average black cab driver ain’t charging VAT either. Nor the NI at issue here. What influence upon fair competition?