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Amazon UK Unit Pays Just $8 Million In Corporation Tax Despite Sale Of $17.5 Billion

Amazon UK Unit Pays Just $8 Million In Corporation Tax Despite Sale Of $17.5 Billion
According to reports quoting accounts published on Wednesday, despite the group reporting more than $17.5 billion in sales in United Kingdom, Inc's main UK subsidiary, Amazon UK Services Ltd., paid corporation tax of just 6.3 million pounds or $8 million in 2019.
The underlying condition of its UK business was reflected in the low corporate tax figure, Amazon said.
“Corporation tax is based on profits, not revenues, and our profits have remained low given retail is a highly-competitive, low margin business and we continue to invest heavily,” the company said in a statement.
The largest e-commerce company of the world does not separately publish the profits that it makes in the UK. The total sales of the company in the UK is mainly reported through a web of Luxembourg based companies, mainly Amazon EU Sarl, part of which also comes under the jurisdiction of the UK tax regimen and therefore has to pay a tax on a portion of its earnings to the UK government.
Last year however, the company had reported a tax credit of 294 million euros.
It has been years that there has been severe criticism of Amazon and the manner in which the company pays taxes in the UK. Amazon is currently also facing a legal suit filed by the European Commission over allegations that Amazon received tax advantages from Luxembourg that were unfair in nature. The e-commerce company has denied the charges.
In 2019, Amazon had paid taxes of 293 million pounds in the UK, the company noted in its report on its tax contribution to Britain which was published by it last week. 
However it was also noted that the majority of the corporations tax as accounted for by the company’s tax liabilities for national insurance of the UK which is a form of social security tax paid by the company on wages that it pays to its employees. It also comprised of business rates which is a form of local property tax as well as the applicable taxes on the company for import of goods and stamp duties on land purchases.
According to experts and analysts, the Seattle-based group gets an unfair advantage over British rivals because of Amazon's tax efficient structure. In contrast British retailers are faced with larger corporation, payroll and local tax bills.
The treatment of the UK’s taxation system of share awards to staff also helped the company to save about 17 million pounds in tax, showed the 2019 accounts for Amazon UK Services Ltd, which employs over 25,000 people. In this aspect, the applicable taxes are much lower in the UK compared to what is charged in other countries.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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