Amazon shareholders call for tax transparency

Twenty-four Amazon shareholders are urging the tech giant to increase transparency in tax disclosures and adopt a new reporting standard, the Financial Times said on Sunday.

Several large European and US pension funds, alongside asset managers Nordea and Royal London are among those calling upon Amazon to issue a transparency report in line with Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) tax standard.

The investors aim to bring a shareholders’ resolution demanding the new standard at the company’s annual meeting this year, citing a letter which will be sent to the US regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission.

”Aggressive tax practices can expose a company and its investors to increased scrutiny from tax authorities, adjustment risks, and increase their vulnerability to changes in tax rules,” the investors said.

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The 100 groups that signed the letter included various environmental, social, and governance-focused, and religious funds, although not all were investors, the paper said.

An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment on the resolution to the FT, but pointed to last month’s no-action request when the company prohibited a similar shareholder proposal.

”The proposal implicates exactly the type of ordinary business issues for which resolution should remain with the company’s management and board,” Amazon said.

Therefore, it would be impractical for shareholders to exercise direct oversight of such issues, it added.

The news comes after Greater Manchester Pension Fund and Oblate International Pastoral Investment Trust also filed a shareholder proposal asking Amazon to implement the new GRI Tax Standard, including public country-by-country reporting of financial, tax and worker information.

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