Taxpayers will fork out £6.3 billion in Christmas taxes this year

Taxpayers will fork out £6.3 billion in Christmas taxes this year

  • As millions of Brits hit the shops today, research shows how the treasury rakes in billions in Christmas taxes
  • These taxes add an extra 18% to the cost of Christmas, as the taxman squeezes every penny from families 
  • This Christmas, a UK household will pay an average of £241 in tax for their festive spending. This is enough to buy 20 luxury Lidl Christmas puddings.
  • Christmas trees, children's toys and dessert wines are just some of the items Brits are paying high taxes on 
New research by the TaxPayers' Alliance shows how the taxman sucks out Christmas cheer by imposing stealth Christmas taxes.  Christmas taxes, as calculated by the TaxPayers' Alliance, include the cost of VAT on shopping such as Christmas trees, children's toys and alcohol. 

With rising inflation and the first interest rate rise in more than 10 years, many households in the UK are struggling with the cost of living. Despite this pressure on finances, households in the UK still intend to enjoy the festive season. Research from Deloitte reveals that the average UK consumer intends to spend £544 this Christmas which is an increase of 1.8 per cent from last year and 38 per cent more than the European average. Consumers in the UK spend the second highest amount in Europe, with only Spanish consumers spending more on Christmas.

Key findings
  • This Christmas, a UK household will pay an average of £241 in tax for their festive spending. This is enough to buy 20 luxury Lidl Christmas puddings.
  • The total Christmas tax bill will come to £6.3 billion.
  • The average household will spend £1,355 on Christmas gifts, travel, socialising and alcohol.
The table below gives a few examples of typical Christmas spending. The TaxPayers’ Alliance calculations of the total tax bill for Christmas are based on our own research and that of Deloitte, not the items that are listed below.

Table 1: tax charged on popular Christmas gifts and essentials
Item Price (£) Tax charged (£)
iPhone X 999 199.8
PlayStation 4 bundle 229.99 45.99
Chanel No 5 Parfum 15ml 142.2 28.44
Lego Star Wars: BB-8 130 26
John Lewis Fireside Christmas Tree, 6ft & tree decorations 120 24
FurReal Roarin’ Tyler 99.99 19.99
Hatchimals Surprise 67.98 13.6
Paw Patrol Sea Patroller 61.98 12.4
Santa Suit 49.99 9.99
Laser X – 2 player pack 45 9
John Lewis Luxury Christmas Crackers 40 8
Travel (average 302 miles) 37.62 24.14
Moet & Chandon Champagne 35 9.29
Courvoisier V.S. Cognac 35 18.08
Enchantimals Playframe Panda Set 29.99 5.99
Christmas Wreath 28 5.6
Nerf Nitro Longshot Smash 19.99 3.99
Astrolabe Awatere Valley Sauvignon Blanc 14.99 4.97
Taylor’s Port 10 5.59
Harvey’s Bristol Cream Sherry 9.5 5.03
Mistletoe 9.45 1.89
Las Cometas Shiraz Reserva 8.5 3.68
Commenting on the figures, John O'Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: 

"Every year taxpayers work hard and save so they can enjoy the Christmas break with their families, but HMRC makes it increasingly difficult to do so. Santa had better watch out that his sleigh isn't next in line for a hefty levy. The taxman should stop playing Grinch and leave us a bit more for our Christmas stockings."


Chloe Westley, Campaign Manager 

TaxPayers’ Alliance
55 Tufton Street, London, SW1 3QL
24-hour media line: 07795 084113 (No texts)
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