Amazon UK Pays $3.7 MILLION Tax On $6.5 BILLION Sales

Amazon UK pays $3.7 million tax on $6.5 billion sales (Reuters, May 15, 2013):

Corporate tax avoidance has risen to the top of the political agenda in Europe following revelations in the past couple of years about how little big names like Apple Inc., Starbucks, Google and Microsoft pay in tax in markets where they reap billions of dollars in sales.

The companies say they follow the rules but UK Prime Minister David Cameron has called for international action on the shifting of profits, which can help firms cut tax bills.

Amazon.co.uk reported a small corporate income tax bill because all sales to British customers are routed through a Luxembourg affiliate, Amazon EU Sarl, which employs around 500 staff.

The British subsidiary, which employed 4,191 people at the end of 2012 and thousands more indirectly via contracting agencies, is deemed, for tax purposes, to be a service provider to the Luxembourg unit.

It is funded by fees it receives from Amazon EU and since these only just cover operating costs, little is left over for the UK tax authority, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to tax.

Amazon EU pays little tax in Luxembourg because it pays hundreds of millions of euros each year in fees to a tax exempt affiliate, also registered in Luxembourg.

Amazon was not immediately available for comment but has previously said it follows the tax rules in every country where it operates.

John Hemming, a member of parliament with the Liberal Democrats, the junior party in Britain’s governing coalition, said the figures showed the inadequacy of existing rules to tackle the problem of profit shifting by major corporations.

“The government clearly needs to do a detailed study on how to handle the tax implications of e-commerce,” he said.

But Nick Smith, a member of parliament with the opposition Labour party, said he wanted the tax authorities to take a close look at Amazon, describing its tax payment as “pathetic”.

“HMRC should be going through this company’s tax arrangements with a fine-tooth comb,” he said.

Mark Brighton of Kew Books, which operates three bookstores in southwest London, said Amazon.co.uk’s low tax bill highlighted the unfair competition small retailers like himself face.

Larger booksellers, electronics retailers and grocers have also criticised Amazon’s arrangements in the past year.

In December, a committee of British lawmakers grilled an Amazon executive about the company’s tax affairs and accused it of behaving “immorally”.

Like other businesses, Amazon also pays taxes on employee wages and collects value added tax, a European form of sales tax, for the government.

Including adjustments in relation to previous years, Amazon.co.uk Ltd had a total tax charge of 3.2 million pounds.

1 thought on “Amazon UK Pays $3.7 MILLION Tax On $6.5 BILLION Sales

  1. The UK has for better or worse, has managed to stay afloat for the last thousand years. They tax the businesses and corporations, that is one of the reasons they have seen nations come and go, yet somehow remain. Even dealing with the Euro, they were smart enough to keep their own currency.
    We should be taxing the big corporations instead of giving them huge tax breaks to move good jobs overseas. Our leaders work against us at every turn, yet nobody seems to know or care.
    Read any trade agreement crafted over the last couple of years……all of them work against us, and continue to enrich their corporate backers.
    When we are gone, the UK will still be standing. Why? Because they pay better attention, and they tax corporations as well as the people. They have survived a long time. They are not the mighty empire they once were, but they are still standing.
    Maybe we can learn from them? Well, we need to clean up and expand the bases (parties) from a two party to a five party system. Only by offering representation to all people in the system can we survive and grow. The two parties we have are totally corrupt, and no longer serve the people. Both have been bought out by the corporations.

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