Amazon’s UK business rates tax to turnover ratio was just 0.37 per cent last year despite it raking in nearly £20 billion.
Throughout 2020 Amazon saw UK sales rise 51 per cent to around £19.3 billion, putting the UK on course to become Amazon’s second largest market.
This was the equivalent of every UK citizen spending £290 with the retailer, or Amazon taking £36,000 every minute.
Despite its blistering year, the retailer paid a business rates tax of around £71 million on its entire UK estate including fulfilment centres, research and development centres, corporate offices in London, Amazon Lockers, Whole Foods Market stores, and delivery stations.
According to real estate advisor Altus Group, who conducted the research, this represented a tax to turnover ratio of just 0.37 per cent.
On average, UK bricks-and-mortar retailers paid around 2.3 per cent of their annual retail sales in business rates, according to the Centre for Retail Research.
“Covid-19 had driven online sales accelerating the need to address the disparity in tax to turnover ratios,” Altus Group’s UK president of property tax Robert Hayton said.
“This is simply about fairness and cannot be a tax grab on the overall retail sector. Additional revenue raised would have to be ring fenced.”
This has piled pressure on the government to reform tax structures in the UK to level the playing field between online retailers and bricks-and-mortar store, which have been decimated over the last year during successive lockdowns.
The government committed to conducting a fundamental review of business rates and ran a consultation until the end of October last year.
It has committed to publishing the results of its findings in this year’s Spring Budget, due next month.