Thinking further about this, I realised that at least one aspect doesn’t yet seem to have been discussed at all. It’s this: what happens if all the loopholes get closed and the internet businesses are forced to pay their full corporation tax and whatever other dues they are currently dodging? Will they a) hold up their hands, say ‘you got me bang to rights, guv’ and take the hit on their profits? Or b) pass it on to their customers in the form of higher prices?
I suspect I know the answer, and here’s a clue: it’s not a).
If I’m right, what it boils down to is this: either the exchequer loses out, as at present; or the buying public does. Makes the issue a little bit cloudier, doesn’t it?