Amazon pays just £7m in tax, despite £7bn worth of sales

Despite retail sales soaring past £7 billion, Amazon UK (NASDAQ:AMZN) only paid £7.4 million in tax last year, 50 percent less than the year previous.

The cut in tax came despite a turnover for the business because whilst revenues increased by over 50 percent, profits were down from £48.5 million to £24.2 million.

A spokesperson for Amazon said: “We pay all taxes required in the UK and every country where we operate. Corporation tax is based on profits, not revenues, and our profits have remained low given retail is a highly competitive, low margin business and our continued heavy investment.”

On top of higher revenues, Amazon has also seen a rise in share prices rose last week leading to the business’s boss Jeff Bezos to shortly overtake Bill Gates as the world’s richest man. 

This came amid controversy in the US as President Trump said the company was  “getting away with murder, tax-wise”. Trump went onto say that Bezos was using the Washington Post for “political influence”.

Amazon has previously come under controversy for the amount of tax paid in the UK but in 2015 promised to change its structure, which allowed all UK sales and profits to be declared through low-tax Luxembourg. 

Director of Tax Justice Network, Will Snell, said that Amazon has only just started paying what they owe in taxes.

“This means that the cost of doing business wipes out the small profits they declare in their UK accounts, and they end up paying little tax.

“The fact that this game continues, years after the Government promised to clamp down on such practices, makes clear the extent of inaction from the government on the tax avoidance issue.

“If the Government is serious about closing the budget deficit, and improving fairness in the economy, it must do much better at taking on tax dodging companies.”

Margaret Hodge has also accused the company of taking such a relaxed attitude to paying taxes.

“It is a scandal they are deliberately manipulating the way they do their business for no other purpose than to avoid tax,”

“I hope people take a leaf out of my book and stop using Amazon.

“I don’t use them at all and I would urge Sun readers to do the same and not use them.

“If we stop using Amazon then they may understand how angry their customers are.”

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