Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive and the world’s richest man, has become an unlikely supporter of a rise in corporate tax in the US.
Bezos has publicly voiced his support for a hike in corporate tax rates from 21 per cent to 28 per cent as part of President Joe Biden’s recently announced $2 trillion infrastructure support package.
“We support the Biden Administration’s focus on making bold investments in American infrastructure,” Bezos wrote in a blog post.
“We recognize this investment will require concessions from all sides — both on the specifics of what’s included as well as how it gets paid for (we’re supportive of a rise in the corporate tax rate).”
It comes after Biden called Amazon out directly while announcing the new support package, which offers sweeping upgrades to roads, bridges, public transport, alongside investments in elderly and disabled care, affordable housing, manufacturing and job training.
During the announcement Biden explained that he would raise corporate tax, stating that: “Amazon use various loopholes so they pay not a single solitary penny in federal income tax.
“I don’t want to punish them, but that’s just wrong. That’s just wrong. Fireman, teacher, paying 22 per cent, Amazon and 90 other major corporations paying zero in federal taxes? I’m going to put an end to that.”
Amazon has often drawn criticism for pay little or no federal income tax in the US, paying nothing in 2017 and 2018.
In 2019 Amazon reported a federal tax liability of $162 million, rising to $1.8 billion in 2020.
The proposed tax increase has faced opposition from both Republicans and Democrats over fears it will be hinder economic growth in the US.
Support from Bezos will give Biden ammunition to counter their concerns, but is unlikely to remove Amazon from Biden’s crosshairs.
The proposed rise to 28 per cent would still be lower than the 35 per cent federal income tax stood at before former President Donald Trump lowered it in 2017.