Amazon accused of handing over the “diddly-squat” in corporate tax | Amazon

Amazon has been accused of continuing to underpay UK corporation tax despite a key UK division’s payment tripling to £14million.

Amazon UK Services, the warehouse and logistics company which employs more than two-thirds of its more than 27,500 employees in the UK, said its corporation tax contribution had risen by nearly 10 million in the year to December 2018 compared to the £4.7 million paid in 2017.

The group’s annual filing at Companies House revealed that sales rose 18% to £2.3bn and pre-tax profit rose 4% to £75.4m for the division, which accounts for more than a quarter of the group’s sales in the United Kingdom. Amazon does not disclose profits or corporation tax payments for its entire UK operations, which would include its retail business as well as its warehouses and logistics.

Richard Murphy, Professor of Practice in International Political Economy at the City, University of London, said: ‘If he wants us to believe he is paying the right amount of tax, he has to give enough information. No accounting number makes sense in isolation.

However, Amazon tried to push back against accusations of tax underpayment by issuing a separate statement on Tuesday saying it had paid £220 million in direct UK tax on all of its UK operations in the year. last, including employer’s national insurance, professional rates, corporation tax and stamp duty.

He did not break this down to reveal the amount of corporation tax paid by his UK operation, which had total revenue of $14.5bn (£10.9bn). sterling) last year, according to the group’s annual report.

Amazon previously revealed it paid more than £63m in business rates in 2018 and its statement released on Tuesday made it clear it had again paid more than that in Employer National Insurance. This indicates that Amazon pays less than £94 million in other direct taxes, including corporation tax and stamp duty, across its UK operations.

Murphy said he would expect Amazon to pay at least £100m in corporation tax in its UK business alone, assuming it makes profits at a similar rate to the group in its entirety. “There is clearly an underpayment to explain,” he said, calling payment by Amazon UK Services “the square root of the diddly-squat”.

Amazon said in 2015 it would stop using controversial corporate structures that diverted sales and profits from the UK, following a crackdown on the practice with the introduction of corporate tax. profits diverted from George Osborne.

Murphy said the company would be under pressure to publish more transparent accounts as it became standard practice for companies to “reveal and explain” their tax bills.

Paul Monaghan, chief executive of Fair Tax Mark, which accredits businesses that are fair and transparent in the tax they pay, said: ‘The numbers sound like pennies on the back of the couch. He said Amazon UK Services’ current £14m tax bill did not compare well to Fair Tax company Mark Lush, which only paid around £1m less in tax on profits of £23.4 million, less than a third of that made by Amazon. division.

Amazon said in a statement: “As we continue to hire and grow in the UK, we help fund public services and infrastructure across the country. We do this through taxes collected by the Exchequer due to our activities in the UK.”

Amazon said it invested more than £18 billion directly into its UK operations between 2010 and last year, including building new offices and warehouses as well as paying salaries for UK employees.

Luisa D. Fuller