BRUSSELS (Xinhua) – Amazon’s tiny tax bill in contrast to its huge European revenues sparked outrage among industry peers, who called for an end to the “deeply unfair” tax system.
The online retail giant paid just 16.5 million euros (19.5 million US dollars) in tax on European revenues of 21.6 billion euors (25.5 billion dollars) reported through Luxembourg in 2016, the Guardian reported Thursday, citing the company’s latest annual accounts for its European online retail business.
Amazon UK services, the company’s warehouse and logistics operation, more than halved its UK corporation tax bill from 15.8 million British pounds (20.4 million dollars) to 7.4 million pounds (9.6 million dollars) year-on-year in 2016, whereas turnover at the UK business rose to almost 1.5 billion pounds (1.9 billion dollars) in 2016, reported the Guardian.
Amazon’s controversial tax bill caused a widespread outcry among local bricks-and-mortar bookstores which found it increasingly hard to compete against the e-commerce giant.
“This deeply unfair system must end,” the Booksellers Association’s head of corporate affairs Giles Clifton told the Guardian. “It is simply wrong that the current system is so heavily weighted against bricks-and-mortar retailers”.
“Despite some action by ministers and companies, widespread corporate tax avoidance continues to cost both rich and poor countries billions every year that could pay for schools and lifesaving healthcare,” Ana Arendar, Oxfam’s head of inequality, told the Guardian.
Oxfam called for the British government to implement comprehensive reporting for multinationals to ensure they pay a fair share of tax.
In response to the criticism, a spokesperson for Amazon told the Guardian that Amazon pays “all the taxes that are required in every country” where it operates.
“We’ve invested over 20 billion euros (23.6 billion dollars) in Europe since 2010, and expect to hire 15,000 new employees this year, bringing our total permanent European workforce to over 65,000 people,” the spokesperson added.
Amazon runs a very successful business with a market cap of 465 billion dollars, almost double the market value of US retail giant Wal-Mart.
Late last month, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos claimed the crown of the world’s richest man with a net worth of roughly 90 billion dollars, briefly kicking Microsoft founder Bill Gates out of the top spot on the Forbes’ Real Time Billionaires List.