Amazon paying “the square root of diddly-squat” in UK tax according to critics


Amazon’s UK corporation tax payment is “the square root of diddly-squat” according to critics, as the retailer fights legal battles across the globe.

Amazon UK Services, the ecommerce giant’s warehouse and logistics division which accounts for more than a quarter of sales in the UK, has once again been accused of underpaying corporation tax in the UK.

Meanwhile in France, the retailer has been fined €4 million by the Paris commercial court for introducing abusive clauses in its contracts with third-party sellers.

Despite the fine, Amazon says the ruling was on a “limited number of clauses, most of which were already updated earlier this year”.

In the UK the University of London’s professor of practice in international political economy Richard Murphy said that “there is clearly an underpayment to explain” in Amazon’s UK corporation tax payment.

Amazon does not reveal corporation tax payments for its entire UK operation, including both Amazon UK Services and its retail business, but said that its logistics division paid £14 million this year.

This is significantly more than the £4.7 million it paid in 2017, but its most recent filing in Companies House states that the division saw sales rise 18 per cent to £2.3 billion, while profits rose four per cent to £75.4 million.

READ MORE: Jeremy Corbyn wishes Amazon “many happy tax returns” on its 25th birthday

Murphy added that he would expect Amazon to pay at least £100 million in corporation tax in the UK assuming it made profits at a similar rate to the rest of the company.

“If it wants us to believe it is paying the right amount of tax it has got to give enough information,” he continued.

“No accounting number makes sense in isolation.”

In response Amazon said: “As we continue to hire and grow in the UK, we help fund public services and infrastructure throughout the country. We do this through the taxes that are collected by the Exchequer as a consequence of our activities in the UK.”

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