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Amazon paid zero EU taxes last year, filings show

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Amazon Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) is likely to face fresh scrutiny over its tax activities after filings revealed that the ecommerce giant did not pay any corporation tax in Europe last year despite raking in a record €44bn (£38bn) in sales.

The accounts for the firm’s Luxembourg-based European business, Amazon EU Sarl, which handles sales to the UK, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden and Poland, showed the unit made a €1.2bn loss during the year, thus exempting it from tax despite the record sales figures in the territory. The business segment also received €56mln in tax credits to offset future tax bills.

READ: Amazon profits treble amid lockdown shopping boom

Documents from the segment also show sales for the business increased €44bn in 2020 from €32bn in 2019, as lockdown measures across the continent drove consumers online as high street shops were forced to close.

The findings threaten to attract yet more attention to Amazon’s tax arrangements at a time when international tax avoidance and feelings that some large corporations, particularly Big Tech, are not paying their fair share have moved steadily up the agenda of government’s across the world.

Calls from US president Joe Biden for a global minimum corporation tax to clamp down on avoidance is one such move that could gain traction, while his administration is also pushing forward with plans to raise corporation tax on American companies.

Outrage about Amazon’s lack of tax income is also likely to gain renewed energy after an online shopping boom in the first quarter of 2021 saw the company’s profits triple in the period as net sales jumped 44% to over US$100bn.

Shares in Amazon were down 0.3% at US$3,378 in pre-market trading in New York on Tuesday.

Story by ProactiveInvestors


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