British merchants are warning that free ATMs on their premises could become a thing of the past if the government wins a legal battle over its decision to tax ATMs as a "business within a business."
The proposed business rates bill would cost the nation's in-store ATM providers an additional 2,800 pounds ($3,578) annually for each on premises ATM — on top of the rates they already pay on their retail shops, according to a report by The Sun.
The Sun quoted CVS CEO Mark Rigby as saying that the rates are "nothing more than a stealth tax. With banks continuing to close branches at an alarming rate, access to cash from retail sites is more important than ever before.
Rigby said that if the government prevails in court, cash machines in shops will be removed from service and that a large swath of Britons in small communities would be deprived of convenient access to cash
The case is now before the U.K.'s Upper Tribunal, whose decision is expected "shortly," the report said.